In efforts to normalise trade, Pakistan is ready to negotiate the negative trade list with India.
In Pakistan’s negative list, items are included that the country will not import from India. Similarly, India’s negative list includes those items that it will not import from Pakistan.
“The negotiation will begin once the composite dialogue between the two countries starts on all subjects, including Kashmir,” said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in an interview with Arab News.
He said that Non-discriminatory market access (NDMA) is the new terminology used between the two countries.
“We will try to reduce the negative list to bare minimum,” Dar said.
The finance minister said that the government has a very clear plan as it wants regional peace, trade connectivity and promotion of business and investment.
“We have worked with the previous Indian government and we want to ease visa restrictions for businessmen, visitors, tourists,” he said. “We want to expand the trade between the two countries.”
Pakistan’s trade with India is reasonable but it can be expanded further, the finance minister remarked. Dar said he personally saw potential in Pakistan’s relations with India, “but that depends on how India moves.”
On the other hand, Pakistan is working with China to make an economic corridor, which will reduce the distance to half from China to Gwadar and also cut the freight costs to half.
The country is also working with Afghanistan and Tajikistan for the CASA-1000 electricity transmission line.
With regards to terrorism he said “we are working very hard to combat the problem, we have lost $103 billion due to terrorism and our economy has suffered the most.”
He added that the numbers of lives lost are more than 40,000 people in the last one decade, including almost 5,000 soldiers. “Pakistan has paid the heaviest price for terrorism,” he added.
To a question on the suspension of flights to Pakistan by foreign airlines, Dar said “what has happened in Peshawar recently is unfortunate, once we sort out things, we are sure the foreign airlines will resume flights.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2014.
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