Renowned Economist and Pakistan's Former Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Pasha has asked Pakistani authorities to give trade incentives to India inorder to create competition with China. Pasha said Pakistan should "think strategically, not emotionally, on trade issues" and create competition on items being imported from other countries, especially from China.
Pakistan has refused to give Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India and a strong lobby in the country opposes any trade with New Delhi until Kashmir issues is resolved. "Giving duty concessions to India on items that we import from China under the Free Trade Agreement will create competition between the two countries for the Pakistani market. This will economically benefit Pakistan," the Express Tribune quoted Pasha as saying.
Noting that the global economy is in recession and bilateral trade is diminishing, he said that in Pakistan's case the scenario is worse as its imports are increasing more than exports and recently, the country has started importing items that had never been imported before. "India's exports to Pakistan have reduced 19 per cent, whereas Pakistani exports to India have also witnessed a cut of 9 per cent this year," said Pasha.
He said that the country has to move on by giving access to India on those items that do not hurt its industry. The best example of such commodities is agricultural items as around 40 per cent to 50 per cent of Pakistan's imports from India are agriculture based, he added. This is due to the huge amount of subsidy which Indian government gives to its sector and this is the main reason why Pakistan, which before partition, was exporting agriculture items, is now importing those products. "Removing barriers in Pak-India trade will not boost growth rate immediately. It will have a modest impact on the economy. In some years, our GDP level would be higher," he added.