In a major step in bilateral ties, Pakistan on Wednesday took a major step to give India most-favoured nation (MFN) status by year-end. New Delhi promptly welcomed the move aimed at normalising the trade ties, which will have positive effect on the bilateral ties.
A meeting of the Pakistan Cabinet chaired by Yousuf Raza Gilani unanimously approved the proposal to switch over to a negative list regime, which permits imports from India of all but 1,200 items. India granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996 but Islamabad failed to reciprocate because of some hardline political positions which believed that such a move could harm Islamabad's stance on the core issue of Kashmir. There have been considerable opposition from Pakistan trade lobbies, too, against India being given the MFN status.
A meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani "unanimously approved the phasing out of the negative list" regime between Pakistan and India by December, said a statement issued by the Premier's office. There will now be the introduction of a negative list with slightly around 1, 200 items that cannot be traded with India.
However, a media report said Pakistan's Ministry of Industries and Textiles Ministry, which have a crucial say in framing strategies to protect domestic manufacturers, have opposed the move.
(With PTI inputs)