MFN status to India: Trade normalisation may hit deadlock

Foreign ministry spokesperson says Pakistan still going through the ‘internal processes’.


Our Correspondent December 28, 2012
Foreign ministry spokesperson says Pakistan still going through the ‘internal processes’. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID.

ISLAMABAD:


Trade normalisation between the nuclear armed-neighbours may hit a deadlock as Pakistan has not yet decided to implement its decision of granting the Most Favoured Nations (MFN) status to India.


Under the agreement, Islamabad is scheduled to abolish its negative list of tradable goods by December 31. The list contains 1,209 items that cannot be imported from India.

However, at a weekly news briefing foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters on Thursday that Pakistan was still going through the ‘internal processes’ on granting the MFN status to India.

When asked that Pakistan had already agreed to give effect to its decision on MFN by December 31, Moazzam Ali Khan did not give any time line and instead replied: “Internal processes are expected to be implemented as soon as possible.”

Islamabad

Pakistan’s reluctance to give specific time-frame on MFN issue appears to suggest differences with India on certain matters.

Officials here pointed out that the government’s decision in principle to grant MFN status was conditional to India’s willingness to reduce its Pakistan specific-sensitive list by 30% maintained under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement.

New Delhi agreed to implement its decision by December 31, 2012 that will eventually allow Islamabad to move ahead with granting it MFN status.

The spokesman

Concerns on India-Russia pact

The foreign office spokesman also voiced serious concern over a recent defence deal worth $2.9 billion signed between India and Russia.

Under the accord signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to New Delhi earlier this week, India will buy 42 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and 71 Mil Mi-17 helicopters, according to the media.

Khan said Pakistan opposed any move in the region that ‘leads to nuclear and conventional arms race.’

Khar to visit Saudi Arabia

The spokesman said Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will travel to Riyadh on January 1 at the invitation of her Saudi counterpart.

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She is visiting the Kingdom amid rapidly changing regional developments including unrest in Syria, and the Afghan reconciliation process.

Saudi’s invitation is also being seen as an attempt by Pakistan’s long term Arab ally to stay away from Iran gas pipeline.

However, the spokesman dispelled the impression insisting that Pakistan would not abandon the project. “Pakistan is an energy deficient country and we consider the Iran pipeline as vital to meet our energy needs,” Khan emphasised.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2012.

COMMENTS (17)

Feroz | 9 years ago | Reply

@Hasan: Since the Indian system of Parliamentary Democracy, Secularism, independence of Judiciary and Media, policy of Non Alignment and model of Economic Growth are such spectacular failures the World has decided to remodel itself keeping Pakistan as its ideal role model. Happy !

Mango Aadmi | 9 years ago | Reply

I am seriously glad. For a change the discussion here is quite healthy and we Indian and Pakistani are not mud slinging against each other. Please carry on this constructive discussion. ...... :)

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