US hails Pakistan’s move to give India MFN status

November 4th, 2011 - 10:48 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 4 (IANS) The US has hailed Pakistan’s decision to give India a most-favoured nation (MFN) status, saying it is a “very, very big deal” that could lead to really great economic opportunities for both countries.

“We don’t yet have most-favoured nation status,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Thursday when asked to comment on Pakistani Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan’s announcement in Islamabad about the Pakistani cabinet’s decision.

“We have a decision unanimously approved by the Pakistani cabinet to open a path for full normalisation of trade relations with India” as the commerce ministers of both countries agreed in Delhi in September, she said.

“This is a very, very big deal, very important, could lead to really great economic opportunities for both India and Pakistan, sets the kind of example within the Silk Road family that we would like to see throughout that region,” Nuland said referring to a US pushed project for South and Central Asia.

“We’d like to see the opening of trade relations because this will bring prosperity to everybody, break down old barriers, really lift all boats in the region, and make the region even more vital as a centre of global commerce,” she said.

“So we really applaud Pakistan and India for taking this concrete step to improve their relations,” Nuland said describing it as “the most tangible thing that they’ve done yet”.

“And our hope is that the process of normalisation in both directions, including getting eventually to full MFN, continues and that there is a reduction in non-tariff barriers by India that will also lead to a full expansion of opportunity,” she said calling it “very exciting”.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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