World Bulletin/News Desk
Pakistan will grant India special trading status by the end of March, a senior official in the Ministry of Trade and Commerce said Monday.
They said Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has agreed in principle to giving the Most Favored Nation status to India as part of a policy of boosting trade and business ties with its neighbours.
"If all goes well, an official announcement will be made by the end of March in this regard,” the official told Anadolu Agency, on the condition of anonymity.
The official added that, in return, India would reduce tariffs on 300 Pakistani export items and eliminate non-tariff barriers.
The agreement would mean the abolition of Pakistan's existing “negative” list, which prohibits 1209 items from being imported from India, and the northeastern Wagah border would be permanently open for trade, said the official.
Giving Most Favored Nation status to India has been discussed at various points during the last 15 years, after General Pervez Musharraf took power in 1999, but the countries have always failed to reach an agreement for various reasons, including the deadly Mumbai attacks in 2008.
Prime Minister Sharif, who is amongst the country’s top ten businessmen, has always been eager to extend the status to India, which political rivals claim is because it would benefit his sugar and steel businesses.
Some believe the agreement, which will give Pakistan access to India's market of over one billion people, will help Pakistan's exports increase from US$350 million to US$1 billion annually, within a year.
The current trade volume between the two geo-political rivals, who have fought three wars since 1947, is US$4 billion. Most of the trade between the two states is conducted through Dubai.Last Mod: 10 Mart 2014, 16:12