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Wagah gates to open up for trade

business Updated: Feb 08, 2012 23:38 IST
Anupama Airy
Anupama Airy
Hindustan Times

Given the increase in imports from India and the decision of the Pakistan Cabinet in November to grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, a dedicated cross-border trade gate is being opened at the Wagah border to encourage bilateral trade between India and Pakistan.

The MFN status is expected to remove discriminatory higher pricing and duty tariffs that stand as barriers to exports between the south Asian neighbours.

A formal announcement of this trade gate — actually initiated earlier but put on hold after the terror attacks in Mumbai — is now planned to be made on February 13 during the three-day visit of commerce minister Anand Sharma to Pakistan.

Discussions between the two sides are aimed at doubling the annual trade between India and Pakistan to $6 billion in the next three years, government sources said. A formal announcement formalising Pakistan’s decision to accord a MFN status to India may also be made when the Indian delegation led by Sharma hold talks in Islamabad.

The delegation includes industrialists Naresh Goel (Jet Airways), Rajan Mittal (Bharti Enterprises), Harsh Pati Singhania (JK group), Omkar Singh (Apollo Tyres) among others.

The decision to ease trade barriers could open immense opportunities for the two countries in sectors such as pharma, agriculture, textiles besides petroleum products.

The first of its kind trade show by India — that will also exhibit items currently not on the positive list of items allowed for trade with India — is also being held at Lahore from February 11 to 13.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry jointly with the commerce ministry in partnership with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and other counterpart chambers is organising “The India Show” at Lahore.

"The primary objective of this show is to create opportunities for expansion of trade, investment and technology transfer," said a FICCI official.