Islamabad: Pakistan should fully implement the roadmap for normalising economic cooperation with India, including granting it the Most Favoured Nation-status, Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal has said.
"The economic roadmap needs to be fully implemented for more trade and investment between the two neighbouring countries," he said at a farewell luncheon hosted for him yesterday by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Indian envoy referred to the joint statement issued after the seventh round of talks on commercial and economic cooperation between the Commerce Secretaries in September 2012 and said this laid out the roadmap for normalising and increasing economic ties.
In the joint statement, it was agreed that Pakistan would grant MFN-status to India by December 2012.
India would thereafter bring down its SAFTA Sensitive List to 100 tariff lines at six-digit level by April.
Sabharwal, who served as the Indian envoy for four years, said New Delhi had implemented several decisions, including allowing investments from Pakistan and reducing the SAFTA tariff line.
After the formation of the new government in Islamabad, there are hopes that Pakistan would implement the roadmap for cooperation, he said.
He welcomed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's remarks about trade with India and said that similar sentiments prevailed across the border.
After trade talks between India and Pakistan were initiated in September 2011, there were several positive developments that resulted in the first visit to Pakistan by an Indian Commerce Minister in February last year, he said.
These developments also resulted in improved bilateral trade.
"Exports from Pakistan to India registered growth," he said.
Asked about recent tensions between the two countries, Sabharwal said: "Both the sides have trust deficiency; Once relations improve, everything will go better." Sabharwal emphasised the need to increase mutual trust to strengthen economic ties.
Referring to the opening of bank branches by the two countries on a reciprocal basis, he said negotiations were underway and the central banks of the two sides are expected to resolve all issues soon.
"The heads of the State Bank of Pakistan and the Reserve Bank of India met in March to discuss the banking channel," he said.
Haroon Agar, president of KCCI, lauded Sabharwal's efforts to promote political and business relations between the two countries. He thanked the outgoing envoy for his support in sending an Indian delegation to the "My Karachi Exhibition".
Zubair Motiwala, president of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, proposed that India could set up a power generation plant using Pakistani coal.
In exchange of payment, India can supply electricity to Pakistan's national grid, he suggested.
First Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 15:34