India and Pakistan have agreed to consider easing business visa rules, India’s TNN news agency reported on Tuesday.
Pakistan is expected to come up with contours of the liberalised visa regime which India will match, it quoted a senior Indian government official as saying.
In addition, it said, the Indian government has agreed to consider lifting the blanket ban on investment from across the border while asking Islamabad to move to ‘normal trade.’
During talks in New Delhi last week, the report said, there were indications that Pakistan would grant the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India and also implement its commitments under South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) that entailed lowering of duties and allowing the import of commodities, barring a negative list.
At present, it said, Pakistan follows a positive list which means only a handful of products can be imported from India. As a result, a bulk of products is traded through a third country, such as the United Arab Emirates, it said. “We are some distance away from investment actually coming through given that even companies would be worried about reversal of policy. But in case of trade, Pakistan can show the way and we can reciprocate through easier visa norms,” it quoted an analyst as saying.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2011.