ISLAMABAD, Oct 25: Pakistan would reduce its sensitive list to only 100 items by 2017 and India will bring its sensitive list down to 100 items by 2013 under South Asia Free Trade Agreement (Safta).
“This will allow five additional years to Pakistani business community to become competitive and prepare to compete against the Indian goods after liberalisation of trade regime between the two countries,” said secretary of commerce Munir Qureshi here on Thursday.
Talking to newsmen, he said that the current sensitive list maintained by Pakistan contains 1,183 tariff lines and plans are that the list would be reduced by 233 items by the end of 2012.
The list is for items to be traded among seven Saarc countries and Afghanistan.
India had maintained its sensitive list at 884 tariff lines and has reduced over 300 tariff lines, including textiles, leather and agriculture commodities.
Mr Qureshi said that Pakistan is on its way to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status for trade to India and the negative list would be eliminated as per announced schedule till the end of December 2012.
“We are on our way to grant MFN status to India”, said the secretary, and informed that the commerce secretary level talks between Pakistan and India are held biannually and last round was held in Islamabad in September 2012 where three agreements were signed for removal of trade barriers and facilitation of trade between the two countries.
“Implementation of these three agreements would help remove trade barriers and we hope that the business community would also be satisfied over implementation of these agreements,” he added.
It has been agreed between the two countries that the next round of the commerce secretary level talks would be held in New Delhi in April 2013.
The secretary commerce said that two banks have approached the State Bank of Pakistan for opening their bank branches in India and their cases were being looked into by the authorities.