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Pakistan wants 'level playing field' for better trade ties

PTI August 08, 2014 20:18 IST
PTI
New Delhi: After dithering on grant of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status on India, Pakistan today sought to link the issue with market access saying it wants level playing field to promote trade ties with New Delhi.

“Pakistan wants a level-playing field for promoting and further strengthening trade ties with India. There is need to address concerns relating to market access, tariff and non-tariff barriers,” Abdul Basit, High Commissioner for Pakistan, said here.

Basit comments were released in a statement by Pakistan High Commission after a meeting of India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum (IPJBF) where businessmen from neighbouring countries hoped Islamabad would confer much awaited MFN to India soon.

Innovative proposals and ideas may also be explored to create economic inter-dependence between the countries, he said.

“Mutual economic dependence will boost confidence amongst the business communities and make economic cooperationsustainable,” he said.

After the IPJBF meeting, Pakistani industry expressed hope that Islamabad would soon grant the MFN status as the formalities on the matter have already been completed.

“All the home work has been completed and formalities have been done so I think it is only the matter of time when the two governments meet and right forum is there. So I do not think that is an issue,” Pakistan Co-chair for IPJBF Syed Yawar Ali told reporters.

India granted the MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 but Pakistan is yet to reciprocate to that. Grant of status to India would help in further boosting trade.

In 2012, Pakistan had committed itself to give the MFN, now termed as Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA), status but missed its own deadline of December 31, owing to domestic opposition.

NDMA is a nomenclature chosen by Pakistan to avoid political ramifications at home of giving India MFN status.