Pakistan likely to extend MFN status to India
June 26: India and Pakistan will make fresh attempts to expand and deepen trade ties. As part of these efforts, the two will re-engage for granting India Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status.
As a first step, India has asked Pakistan to move towards drawing up a small negative list of prohibited items as against present system of listing out items that are open to trade.
Pakistan is very keen to re-engage with India on granting MFN an official source confirmed. India has already granted MFN status to Pakistan allowing the country to export 1,934 items.
The move to expand trade ties figured prominently during the foreign secretary, Ms Nirupama Raos visit to Islamabad earlier this week, official sources confirmed. Ms Rao held discussions to normalise relations between the two countries and draw up a comprehensive plan to fight against terrorism.
The commerce secretary, Mr Rahul Khuller, may travel to Pakistan shortly and hold discussions with his counterpart. However, no dates have been set for Mr Khullers visit yet.
The Planning Commission estimates have put the potential for bilateral trade at $10 billion. Full-blown Indo-Pak trade and investment ties will take the economic profile of the region to the next level.
The initiative to expand trade and investment ties came from Pakistani leadership to which India has responded positively.
The foreign secretarys visit and the home minister, Mr P. Chidambarams consultations with Pakistans interior minister, Mr Rahman Malik, seem to have given fresh hopes of reviving full dialogue between India and Pakistan, sources said.
On terrorism, there seems to be some realisation on part of Pakistani leadership that it was not just India-centric problem, sources stated. The two sides have explored possibility of setting up joint counter-terrorism structures.
India is also assessing the proposal mooted by Pakistan to resume full dialogue at the level of foreign ministers. No decision, agenda or calendar is ready for such dialogue as of now, said the source.
During the foreign secretarys visit, apparently, Pakistan has conceded having difficulties in bringing those responsible for the Mumbai attacks to justice.
Further, India has apparently expressed its concerns on the developments in Afghanistan where some pro-Pak elements have apparently mounted an anti-India campaign across the borders.
Pak likely to extend MFN status to India | Deccan Chronicle | 2010-06-27