NEW DELHI: India, in a move to facilitate and promote trade ties with Pakistan, is aiming to exclude 254 items which make up to 30 per cent of the total sensitive products’ list. The proposal has been drafted under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta) and will be considered by the Cabinet members on Friday, reported Times of India.
The proposal came about in February when the trade ministers of both the countries met.
Pakistan plans to give India the status of most favoured nation (MFN) again and has announced a list of negative items which will not be traded between the countries as opposed to a small list of positive items which would get announced every year.
Whilst the decision proposed by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma awaits approval of cabinet members, India will ensure that Pakistan keeps its end of the bargain by fulfilling all the main commitments.
India will fix three major milestones which will help in assessment of targets met.
India will monitor Pakistan’s initiative to eliminate the negative list of approximately 1,209 items and only retain the sensitive list.
The second strategy will be to refine the sensitive items so that the list stays at minimum.
Moreover, Indian government plans to increase the items on the list that can be traded by land, via Attari-Wagah border.
Indian officials have emphasised on the importance of all the strategies without which the progress will remain negligible.
If both the governments can chalk out a strategy to increase the list of items that can be traded through the route of land, many items including hosiery, garment and sweets can be easily traded between Indian and Pakistani Punjab.
If the land route remains inaccessible for the countries then the trade is likely to suffer as the extra cost of transportation via sea route is estimated to be $2.4 billion.
India also plans to reduce the custom duty on the said items to five per cent over the period of three years.
The decisions will contribute positively in boosting trade between South Asian nations and bring about economic integration abridging the political and historical divide.