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India-Pak trade can cross $6 billion: Report

A report said that the trade between the two nations can pick up if barriers are removed and SAFTA is implemented.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2006 13:37 IST

Trade between India and Pakistan can increase to a phenomenal level of 6.6 billion dollars if barriers are removed and the neighbouring country implements the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement, an ICRIER report has said.

India's exports increased by 157 per cent to 428.1 million dollars and imports by 143 per cent to 82.1 million dollars in the first quarter of 2006-07 as against the corresponding period last year, according to official figures.

"Trade between the two nations is very small as compared to trade between India and its other large partners in South Asia," Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations said in a report on 'India-Pakistan trade'.

On the other hand, informal trade through a third country is estimated to be in the range of two billion dollars, the report said.

"With several regions integrating further through the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), it is imperative for the South Asian countries to enhance the pace of their liberalisation," it added.

In a larger context, South Asia is the least integrated region compared to other regions, namely East Asia, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa.

Regional liberalisation within Asia indicates that SAFTA would ultimately lead to integration with a larger community within the continent through BIMSTEC and ASEAN, the paper said. However, success of SAFTA in turn would depend on trade relations between India and Pakistan.

First Published: Nov 28, 2006 12:31 IST