close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
December 30, 2012

Pakistan has delayed MFN status to India: Amin Fahim

Top Story

December 30, 2012

KARACHI: Islamabad has delayed the grant of the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India together with the abolition of the negative list for trade.
“The process of converting the negative list into positive and granting the MFN status has been delayed for a short time,” Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Minister for Commerce, said on Saturday on the sidelines of a meeting between Prime Minister Pervaiz Ashraf and Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
“The reason of delay was reservations of various industries about protecting the interest of local manufacturers,” he said. The ministry was in the process of removing their reservations.
But the decision to delay the removal of negative list, which would lead to the MFN status, was taken after discussing the issue with the Indian commerce minister. “I talked to Anand Sharma, Indian Commerce Minister, on the issue and he understands the issue and agreed to the delay for a short time,” Fahim said.
The commerce minister said the final decision in this regard would be taken by the cabinet. He, however, said that he could not give a date about taking the decision.
In the ministerial and commerce secretary level talks of India and Pakistan this year, it was agreed that after approval by the cabinet the negative list would be removed and Pakistan would transition fully to the MFN status for India by end-December 2012.
There were reports that the government was avoiding giving the MFN status to India due to hidden pressure and upcoming general elections.
Fahim rejected all speculations and said it was a matter of trade between the two countries that should be started.
“It is a WTO obligation and Pakistan has to grant the status for enhancing the trade,” he said, and added: “It has nothing to do with elections.”
The Indian side had already expressed concerns about Pakistan honouring its commitments. In a statement early this month, Sharat Sabharwal, High Commissioner of India,

had stressed on fulfilling the commitment mentioned in the joint statement of seventh round of talks of Indo-Pak commerce secretaries for strengthening the economic relations between the two countries.
“One deadline for removal of restrictions on trade through land route has passed, another deadline to remove the negative list is coming,” the statement quoted Sabharwal as saying.
The Indian diplomat said that developments were based on reciprocal basis with consideration and implementation from both ends. “The Indian side was adhering to commitments and looking forward to the Pakistani side for the same,” the statement said.
Granting the MFN status and dismantling the negative list are important for bilateral trade because India in return will bring down its Safta sensitive list to 100 tariff lines at six digit level by April 2013.
The trade between Pakistan and India is about $2 billion in 2011 while the informal or third country trade between the two is more than $3 billion. Experts said that the impact of trade liberalisation would be of about $6 billion of bilateral trade.