SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry hails hurdle free trade between India and Pakistan

Islamabad: The leadership of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) has hailed the Government of Pakistan for its decision of complete phasing out the products from negative list by December 2012 regarding its as a right approach to promote hurdle free trade between India and Pakistan.

Mr. Vikramjit Sigh Sahney, President of SAARC CCI from India in a press statement appreciated the decision stating that it will give quantum leap to the bilateral trade volume between two countries, which at present ($ 2.5 billion) was insignificant as compared with the potential available. He expected that within one year the trade volume would jumped to almost double while emphasizing on minimizing the Non-tariff barriers from both sides.

“The openness of trade will further help bridging trust deficit between India and Pakistan and help further deepening of socio-political relations, which is instrumental to promote regional cooperation in South Asia” said Mr. Sahney and added that the decision of the Government of Pakistan would open the doors for trade with India by raising the number of items that can be imported from the country from 1,946 to almost 5,600 out of total 6668 items imported by Pakistan.

He emphasized for facilitating more trade through Wagha- Atari border, improvement in infrastructure, frequent movement of trucks and railway cargo, early start of integrated Check Post. He hoped early implementation of liberal visa regime, allowing free movement of businessmen and women entrepreneurs through multiple Visas for at least one year.

Mr. Iftikhar Ai Malik, Vice President of SAARC CCI from Pakistan Chapter also appreciated the Government of Pakistan for its decision to overrule the reservations of the ministries of textile and industries which had been pushing for restricted trade with India to protect domestic manufacturers, stating that the domestic industries should now be prepared enough to face the challenges of global trade regime.

He congratulated both the Governments, Ministers of Commerce, Secretaries of Commerce and High commissioners of India and Pakistan and other stakeholders on this joint success and added that it would lead to grant of MFN Status to India shortly.

Mr. Tariq Sayeed, former President SAAARC CCI said that the decision of cabinet will commence new era of cooperation between India and Pakistan. “The cabinet’s decision will allow the import of about 90 per cent of all the items that India normally exports as before this decision, the ‘positive list’ allowed only 17 per cent Indian export items” said Mr. Sayeed and added that it would lead to greater flow of goods. He however suggested to the both Government to sign bilateral investment treaty, which would be crucial to amplify the scope of economic cooperation.

Mr. Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General while congratulating the both Governments said that the success of the decision would require a hurdle-free trade facilitation mechanism, which needs to put in place as early as possible adding that the greater flow of trade would also strengthen institutional linkages. He was certain that this development would positively affect the SAFTA regime and help improve regional cooperation as well.

For more information, contact:
SAARC Chamber Of Commerce and Industry
Apex Business Organization of SAARC
House No. 397, Street 64, I-8/3, Islamabad- Pakistan
Tel: +9251 486 0611 -3, 831 6023
Fax: +9251 831 6024

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