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Anand Sharma meets Shahbaz Sharif

New Delhi, December 13: The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Anand Sharma today met Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Province of Pakistan who was accompanied by Pakistan’s Minister of State for Commerce, Textile and Privatization Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, Mr. Salman Bashir, High Commissioner of Pakistan to India and Pakistani businessman Mr. Mian Muhammad Mansha along with other senior officials from Pakistan.

Sharma conveyed to the Pakistan side that India stands committed to the roadmap for bilateral trade normalization as was worked out in September 2012 between Commerce Secretaries of India and Pakistan. Essentially this involves Pakistan side removing its restrictions on trade by the land route (Attari, Wagah ICP), as also imparting full non-discriminatory trade access by removing its balance 1209 tariff lines of its current negative list of items importable from India. On the basis of these agreed steps to be taken, Shri Sharma reiterated that India would give enhanced preferential trade access to Pakistan by bringing down its SAFTA sensitive list from 614 tariff lines to 100 tariff lines. The Pakistan side would also in a phased manner over five years be reducing its SAFTA sensitive list for India to 100 tariff lines.

It was also agreed that with the growing volume of trade by the land route the working hours at Attari/ Wagah can be further enhanced and even contemplated for 24/7 operating conditions, the details of which would need to be discussed at an appropriate time between the Commerce Secretaries of both countries.

Shri Sharma offered that to debottleneck congestion at Attari / Wagah, containerized traffic could be accepted with appropriate security arrangements at customs bonded warehouses at Amritsar on the Indian side and Lahore on the Pakistan side. This suggestion was welcomed by both Mr. Sharif and Mr. Dastgir.

Both sides also agreed that ongoing technical talks for electricity transmission line and bilateral trade of power/gas between Indian and Pakistan need to be revitalized, so that there is tangible progress for actual flow of gas and power between both countries.

It was noted that Mr. Dastgir would be again meeting with Sharma in January 2014 as part of the initiatives of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and SAARC business delegations.

The Pakistan side suggested that even prior to this meeting, appropriate official level talks could be initiated to set the ground for rapid momentum on the trade normalization roadmap.

Mr. Sharif welcomed the ‘India Show’ that has been planned in Lahore in February 2014 and invited Shri Sharma to visit Pakistan. It was also noted that the Joint Business Council meetings have also been scheduled in Pakistan in January / February 2014 and the hope was expressed by both sides that continuous increasing engagements between business communities would pave the way for deeper bilateral economic cooperation, including opening of bank branches on reciprocal basis which would help facilitate bilateral trade.

Both sides affirmed that enhanced economic engagement would provide a more stable foundation for bilateral peace and prosperity for the people of both countries.

Posted by Imphal Dispatch on 22:33. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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