Islamabad: Bilateral trade between Pakistan and India is expected to increase in the future, but without proper infrastructure it is bound to fall.
Therefore, development of infrastructure needs swift progress and investment to cater the growing bilateral trade in the future.
According to the Express Tribune, the major attraction for traders on both the sides is quick delivery of goods across the border and lower freight costs compared to the cost of trade incurred with other countries.
Infrastructure at the Wagah border is incapable of catering current cargo loads, which often results in delays and wastage of perishable goods that India and Pakistan usually trade, the report said.
Aftab Ahmad Vohra, member of Pak-India Trade Promotion Committee of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said everyone talks about Indo-Pak trade, but very few question insufficient facilities at the dry port.
He added that the growth in bilateral trade is directly linked with infrastructure facilities, which is lacked.
Vohra said dry ports are crucial, but unfortunately, Pakistan is not ready to trade with India via road or rail.
He said that operational matters should be given to the private sector as they have more technical know-how and experience than the governmental department in running the port.
He added the private sector will invest in infrastructure more efficiently than the governmental departments just like they did at the Sialkot dry port.
Business community in the both the South Asian countries expects that bilateral trade which currently stands at 2.4 billion dollars can touch 10 billion dollars in a few years, if traders are provided with better and more modern infrastructure.
The business community said container shipments should be allowed at the border, which will significantly bolster trade.
However, to accommodate such quantum of trade Pakistan and India both will have to open more trade gates in the future.
Unfortunately despite being neighbours, trade between India and Pakistan was only four percent of the total bilateral trade between the Saarc block.
Vohra said that trade between the two countries could potentially go beyond 10 billion dollars in future as the government of both India and Pakistan seem very much eager, the report added.
First Published: Sunday, June 30, 2013, 17:42