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India bets on new markets to lift exports

Hit by losses arising from uncertainties in Europe and the US, the government is looking to tap immediate neighbours including Pakistan and Bangladesh to boost trade. Mahua Venkatesh and Anupama Airy report.

business Updated: May 30, 2013 21:27 IST

Hit by losses arising from uncertainties in Europe and the US, the government is looking to tap immediate neighbours including Pakistan and Bangladesh to boost trade.

Pakistan, which has just seen a change of guard with the Nawaz Sharif government back in power, is set to grant India the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status in the next three months, official sources said.

“With the new government in Pakistan, things are looking brighter and trade is likely to take off as well... this is critical as we need absolutely new markets to put things in order here,” a senior government official who did not wish to be identified said.

Bilateral trade between the two stood below $3 billion between April 2012 and March 2013. While Pakistan’s exports to India grew 28%, Indian exports to Pakistan also rose 19%. Trade between the two could touch $6 billion by 2015 if they decide to co-operate.

A business delegation from India comprising officials from the ministries of commerce, power and petroleum along with Indian industry captains are likely to visit Pakistan later this year, the official added.