Beyond MFN: Indian exporters target oil products and tea markets

Published: February 14, 2012

Indian exporters underscored the importance of streamlining bilateral trade as indirect trade in many valuable products was not only causing huge losses to the exchequer but was also making the products costlier for consumers. PHOTO: AFP


Leading exporters of India, displaying their products at the first-ever Indian trade exhibition in Pakistan, have expressed great interest in selected markets such as petroleum products, tea, spices and fast moving consumer goods.

The exhibitors at the three-day India Show at the Expo Centre Lahore, which ended on Monday, were excited over the overwhelming response to their products from the traders and general visitors. Most of the Indian traders are visiting Lahore for the first time.

Talking to The Express Tribune, leading Indian exporters underscored the importance of streamlining bilateral trade as indirect trade in many valuable products was not only causing huge losses to the exchequer but was also making the products costlier for consumers.

Most of the Indian products come to Pakistan via third countries like Dubai, Thailand, Iran and Afghanistan, costing an additional 30 per cent in freight.

Representatives of the Indian petroleum industry said they were offering products of European Union standards at competitive rates with shipments through the land route.

Indian Petroleum Federation’s representative Yogendra Sahai said Delhi could meet energy demands of Pakistan if bilateral trade normalised in the wake of continuous negotiations between the two governments. “India can supply diesel, furnace oil, lubricants and coal tar through the Wagha land route,” he said.

Surprised by the encouraging response, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Senior General Manager A Surinder boasted that good standards and quality drove the demand for Indian goods. “Most of the Indian states are using the fuel that is compliant with Euro-III standards. Recently, 13 cities have started consuming Euro-IV standard fuel which ensures low emission levels,” he said, adding Pakistan could also import these high-standard petroleum products.

S Aziz, who represented the Tea Board of India, claimed that they could meet 100 per cent tea demand of Pakistan. Africa was facing drought and the Sri Lankan tea industry was under pressure due to high wages, so India would be the only source to import tea into Pakistan, he said.

A delegation of the Pakistan Tea Association is expected to visit India in April to discuss trade-related issues. “High import duties and taxes at around 35 per cent is the biggest barrier for the Indian tea exporters,” Aziz said.

He suggested that the Wagha-Attari border was the ideal route for tea export to Pakistan which would save time, adding the land route took 15 to 20 days for transportation while shipments through sea took 40 to 45 days.

Indian gems and jewellery exporters were also present in large numbers at the show under the banner of India Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council. Over 17 stalls were decorated with Indian jewellery, which attracted visitors, especially women.

Council’s representative Tom Jose estimated that Indian traders exported jewellery worth around $5 billion in 2010-11. He said Pakistan was also importing Indian jewellery via Dubai and Thailand, but it was not working for the benefit of India or Pakistan in terms of direct trade.

He saw vast potential of bilateral trade as Pakistan was rich in precious and semi-precious stones while India had state-of-the-art technology and expertise in value addition.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • nationalist baloch
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:25AM

    … deliberately, sowly, and piece by piece … our country’s economicinterests are being thrown at the feet of the Indians … by a corrupt and inept government to please its Masters … if allowed to succeed, soon we will find our Freedom of and Independence completely undermined … becoming another Nepal, Bangladesh …


  • nationalist baloch
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:31AM

    … a hurriedly organised, very ill planned, shoddy show in Lahore … just 40-50 stalls, didn’t even utilise one hall fully at the Expo Centre … not much interest from businessmen from either side … just attracted a lot of family window shopppers looking at clothes, jewellery …


  • Bushra
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:48AM

    Direct trade between Hindustan and Pakistan would be beneficial to both countries, but it should not be at the expense of Pakistani businesses and jobs.

    Dumping of shoddy Hindustani goods would destroy industry in Pakistan and create unemployment. Trade issue is all about economics and not politics.Recommend

  • mengal sana
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:35AM

    India should be allowed to directly trade with Afghanistan and central astan states via pakistan that will immensely benefit Pakistan.Recommend

  • hammad
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:38AM

    It’s not what India can sell us, it’s what WE CAN SELL INDIA. I hope the policy makers keep this in mind. Trade balance is crucial.


  • Ameer
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:41AM

    @nationalist baloch:
    “deliberately, sowly, and piece by piece … our country’s economicinterests are being thrown at the feet of the Indians … by a corrupt and inept government to please its Masters … if allowed to succeed, soon we will find our Freedom of and Independence completely undermined … becoming another Nepal, Bangladesh …”

    Only that Nepal, Bangladesh is better than Pakistan


  • Faisal
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:05AM

    agree, it was rubbish….. only had to go due to the Mrs.


  • khan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:29AM

    @Baloch: Open your eyes fellow… even before indians our country is already sold to the chinese long back. They own this countries roads, ports, power, dams, military, planes, ships, coal blocks, automobiles, clothes, machinery… even financial sectors is completely under chinese domination. Wake up… you are already a slave. Also, if it is ill planned, it shows how poor organizers we pakistanis are that we cant even hold an expo and market it to get crowd. We are the host country dude.. it just shows how ridiculously inefficient we are.


  • whoever
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:17AM


    Kindly use the word “India” in stead of “Hindustan” .


  • Bushra
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:35AM

    Pakistanis need to be aware of self-serving arguments being tossed around by Hindustanis about alleged benefits of trade between Hindustan and Pakistan.

    If Pakistanis do not benefit from F-A-I-R trade between the two countries, then we do not want it. Also, we need to stop Hindustan from dumping cheap, low-priced, shoddy goods from their excess capacity. There should be item-by-item list of items where it will help to trade. Remember to focus on what we can sell to Hindustan.

    Hindustani strategy is economic strangulation of Pakistan. Baghal may churri, moon mein Ram Ram. We must be vigilant.Recommend

  • ahsan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 12:29PM

    @baloch ….balochistan is part of pakistan and it will remain ….40% pashtun community in that province will never allow to people to do so ……….and i have some baloch friends and they r extremely patriotic pakistani …..we damn care about people like u …pakistan zindabad


  • Kafka
    Feb 14, 2012 - 12:48PM

    Mutual trade will benefit both the countries. It will challenge the cartels in Pakistan and competition and quality will improve. Let the trade begin.


  • Indian friend of Pak
    Feb 14, 2012 - 1:13PM

    Let us do business.
    Nobody will ever try to disturb a relation which is providing them a better goods and service, there by makes their immediate life comfortable.
    Open trade between our two countries will definiely be such a relation.
    By this we will togather find who our real partners to success are.
    This will neutralise all those negative forces that were distracting us from achieving our full potential as friends.


  • sarita talwai
    Feb 14, 2012 - 2:10PM

    So many negative comments at the start does not augur well for trade.Remember you naysayers that with trade comes money and with money comes education,health, security, self respect,roti,kapda makaan,.Don’t you want it for you people?


  • GAM
    Feb 14, 2012 - 2:15PM

    Pakistanis need to understand that if they have to import goods, then they should be doing that at the best possible price. It would be stupid to buy from Europe and not India, just because the it is India. If the net outflow of money is unfavorable to Pakistan, then the best policy is to reduce this deficit and not worry if India gains.


  • Bangladeshi
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:44PM

    @nationalist baloch: Very well said brother. Our country is slowly becoming a dumping ground for substandard Bharati goods thanks to the current pro-Indian regime brought to power by RAW. But don’t compare us with nepal. INDIA can’t dominate our country of 160 million and the people will soon be kicking out this shameless pro-indian regime in 2 years time inshallah. Hope all the best for Pak too.


  • mani
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:46PM

    Pakistan should do its homework before trading with India so that balance should be maintain. Otherwise it will become dumping ground and our industry specially agriculture will suffer as it is already under stress. Even Obama stressing its companies to stop out sourcing in favour of foreign companies because of loss of jobs.


  • Feb 14, 2012 - 8:27PM

    Pakistan can be a dumping ground for Chinese goods but never Indian!


  • Indian muslim
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:49PM

    Haha… This country can never be reformed.. They are happy to become dumping ground for chinese product and dumping ground for US drones. But anything Indian is bad for their health… good for you.. but within 6 month you will have to accept it…. it’s tit for tat..

    India already gave MFN status.
    India lifted it’s reservation on textile export to Europe
    You are already buying Indian products from dubai which you call substandard.. lol..

    You must be producing very high standard products (like medicine )..Recommend

  • nationalist baloch
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:31PM

    I know India like the back of my hand … so, nothing to crow about, really … only ‘showcasing’ …

    … actually the lacklustre Trade Fair in Lahore … is a shoddy and half hearted attempt on both sides, who want to show ‘quick progress’ by khaanapuri to their corrupt political bosses in New Delhi and Islamabad … who in turn have to demonstrate ‘delivery’ to their common Master in Washington …Recommend

  • Udaya Bose
    Feb 15, 2012 - 12:01PM

    Dumping of shoddy Hindustani goods would destroy industry in Pakistan and create unemployment

    If the goods are shoddy, why should any Pakistani trader buy these from India? So don’t fear, Pakistan’s world class goods stand no threat from shoddy Indian goods.
    Nevertheless, the world buys from India because of a quality-price value proposition. I suppose Pakistanis do the same.


  • Feb 15, 2012 - 12:48PM

    The two countries had wasted decades in animosity and time had come to **come close to each other** for trade and commerce. Al neighbouring countries had some issues but that did not affect their trade relations. When **India and China** could trade despite having political issues, why not India and Pakistan? Economic engagement will help conquer all the challenges we face today. Let’s **write a new chapter** in the history of the two countries. Let’s make the most of changing economic dynamics of the modern world that have posed both threats and opportunities to us.Recommend

  • Rajat
    Feb 16, 2012 - 5:25AM

    I think the problem with both Indians and Pakistanis is that they tend to be too nationalistic for their own harm. I am presently studying in the US and here we have an Indian and a Pakistani store who compete for the customers. I prefer to buy some products from pakistani store because of the availability and price. People of both our counties need to understand that in todays world its all about economics. I hope in India we can get pakistani textile products which in my opinion are superior to Indian goods. Also some of the masalas and pickles from pakistan which are really good.


  • Muhammad Ali
    Feb 27, 2012 - 12:30PM

    @Indian muslim:
    Before insisting on MFN status, you should know what MFN of India and What is MFN of Pakistan.
    Compared to India, Pakistan is friendly ‘to do business’ place. On the other hand India is very restricted economy. According to “Ease of doing business Index” India ranked 132 while Pakistan ranked 85. India gave Pakistan MFN but without lowering NTBs, India also did not include Pakistani Textiles in the framework of MFN, which ironically are largest exports of Pakistan.
    So instead of typing your “haha” you should start reading/learning. Recommend

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