FAISALABAD: Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal has said improved trade relations between India and Pakistan will step up the pace of development and leave a positive impact on the whole South Asian region.
Speaking to members of the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) here on Tuesday, he saw great potential for development in Pakistan and called for enhancing cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
He was of the view that productive parleys and subsequent development were not only beneficial for the two countries, but would also lead to integration of the South Asian region.
However, he pointed out that the pace of economic growth in South Asia was slow and intra-regional trade in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) bloc stood at only 5%.
This was quite low when compared with 25% intra-regional trade in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and 65% in the European Union.
Highlighting the progress India and Pakistan have made in economic ties, the high commissioner said they had liberalised the visa regime, gave priority to opening of bank branches in each other’s country and Delhi allowed investment from Pakistani investors.
Separately, India has reduced its sensitive list under the South Asia Free Trade Area (Safta) by 30% from 878 to 614 tariff lines. After getting most-favoured nation (MFN) status from Pakistan, India says it will further cut the sensitive list to 100 tariff lines by April 2013.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2012.
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