Traders here have high expectations from the business delegation led by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal that will visit Pakistan on Monday.
With 15 to 20 businessmen in Sukhbir's team, local traders hope that its focus would be to remove trade restrictions between the two countries and relax visa norms for businessmen.
While the setting up of the Integrated Check Post (ICP) along the Attari-Wagah border had fuelled hopes that trade between the two nations would achieve a new high, that has not happened due to several reasons.
India currently exports fresh vegetables, soyabean and other commodities to Pakistan while it sends cement, rock salt, gypsum and other items to India through the ICP.
A day ahead of the Sukhbir-led delegation's visit to Pakistan, HT spoke to importers and exporters here on what they think should be its agenda.
We have been conducting business deals with Pakistan for years. There is tremendous business potential. The stress must be on establishing a visa centre at ICP in Attari so that traders do not have to rush to Delhi for this. Also, both nations must do away with city-specific visa.
Anil Mehra, importer and exporter
After the ICP's inauguration, this is the first major trade delegation visit to Pakistan. We want Pakistan to lift all curbs on trading items through the Attari-Wagah border. Export of hand tools, sports goods etc need a boost.
Rajdeep Uppal, exporter and delegation member
It is a welcome move by the Punjab government. The flourishing of trade through the Attari-Wagah border will boost the state, especially Amritsar. We hope that Pakistan imports goods from India, for which at present it relies on other nations. The visa issue needs to be sorted out.
Rajesh Setia, exporter and importer
There is a lot of trade potential between the two countries. We wish the delegation good luck and hope the talks would be fruitful. We hope whatever decisions are taken during this visit are in the best interests of trade.
Om Parkash, exporter
We hope that talks would explore all trading opportunities for both countries. Apart from import and export, both nations must focus on tourism. India and Pakistan both have a rich history and this needs to be tapped into as a business. Tourist visa norms need to be relaxed.