Pakistan seeks level playing field for exports to India
Islamabad: Pakistan Thursday sought "meaningful market access" and a level playing field for its exports to India, saying "all stakeholders" had been taken into confidence on the need for better bilateral trade relations.
The demand was made by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while chairing a meeting of a committee to examine trade with India.
Dar said it should be ensured that all concessions are on a reciprocal basis and the Pakistani industry's concerns should be taken care of in future arrangements, according to a statement from the Finance Ministry.
He emphasised there should be "meaningful market access" and a level playing field for Pakistan's exports to India.
Imports from India "should substitute our import from other countries which will save valuable foreign exchange", he said.
Commerce Secretary Qasim Muhammad Niaz told the committee that all stakeholders have been taken into confidence on normalising trade ties with India. He said the concerns of Pakistani industry will be addressed in the process.
The committee will present its report to the federal cabinet for consideration.
Niaz gave a detailed presentation on the roadmap for moving ahead with "non-discriminatory market access" for Pakistan's exports to India.
He briefed the panel on the pros and cons of normalising trade ties with India and the benefits Pakistan will secure in the export of textile and manufactured goods.
Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan briefed the committee on progress in addressing Pakistan's concerns during his recent visit to India.
Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the premier on Foreign Affairs, Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Tariq Bajwa, former Commerce Secretary Zafar Mehmood, Nestle Pakistan chief Syed Yawar Ali, Finance Ministry Advisor Rana Asad Amin and senior officials attended the meeting.
Bilateral trade is currently worth about USD 2 billion a year, with the balance in India's favour. Pakistan has already missed its own deadline of December 2012 for giving India Most Favoured Nation-status.