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Pakistan assures India on new trade status

india Updated: Nov 10, 2011 01:11 IST
AFP
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Pakistan on Wednesday assured India it will not backtrack on its decision to grant the most favoured nation (MFN) status to its South Asian arch-rival, a report said.

"Let me categorically say that I don't see a lot of room for confusion," the Press Trust of India quoted Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar as saying, rejecting speculation on the November 2 decision to grant MFN status to India.

"We will not backtrack on a cabinet decision," she told the news agency ahead of a summit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations which opens Thursday in the Maldives.

Khar said the special designation was also part of efforts to normalise ties between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

"I can tell you categorically that the cabinet gave its approval for normalisation of trade ties with India," she added.

The decision reciprocates India's move to grant MFN status to Pakistan in 1996.

The status will remove discriminatory higher pricing and duty tariffs that stand as barriers to export between the South Asian neighbours, but non-tariff barriers continue to stand in the way of boosted trade, analysts say.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them triggered by their territorial dispute over Kashmir, which remains a major hurdle in any future comprehensive peace deal.

A full-fledged peace dialogue -- suspended by India after the 2008 Mumbai attacks blamed on Pakistan-based militants -- was resumed in February this year.

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