New Delhi: Pakistan Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood is arriving here this evening for holding talks with his Indian counterpart Rahul Khullar, as the two countries are steadily improving their economic and political ties.
The two-day Commerce Secretary level talks will officially begin on Monday, where India will seek clarity on Pakistan's decision to grant New Delhi the crucial Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status, official sources said.
While Pakistan's Cabinet had announced on November 2 its decision to grant India the MFN, there was confusion thereafter. However, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and other senior Pakistani ministers have since sought to clear the air, saying Islamabad was not backtracking on the MFN decision.
They have been making statements that Pakistan wants to normalise its economic relations with India by removing restrictions on import of a large number of Indian goods into the Pakistani markets.
During his talks with his Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit at Addu in Maldives, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had offered to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement with Pakistan, committing to eliminate duties on all goods by 2016.
The India-Pakistan trade is a paltry USD 2.6 billion, though the third country-routed commerce is estimated at USD 10 billion.
The two countries have been making efforts and right political gestures to their bilateral trade. India has been backing the European Union proposal to grant special trade concessions to Pakistan where floods caused havoc to its economy, last year.
India had granted the MFN status to Pakistan in 1996. The MFN is a World Trade Organisation rule under which countries are required to give equal treatment to their trading partners.
First Published: Saturday, November 12, 2011, 15:37