Pakistan needs to meet SAFTA provisions: Indian envoy

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Pakistan needs to meet SAFTA provisions: Indian envoy

10 June 2010

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Pakistan does not keep in line with the provisions of South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) concerning imports from India, said Sharat Sabharwal, High Commissioner of India during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday.

India maintains a sensitive list of 850 tariff lines for all the non-Least Developed Countries of SAFTA including Pakistan, “all other items are subject to Trade Liberalization Programme,” Sabharwal said.

“SAFTA does not provide for a positive list approach for imports by one member country from another.” Pakistan continued to follow a positive list approach vis-a-vis India and the list currently stood at a little less than 2,000 items, he said.

“We earnestly hope that this situation will change, so as to bring each and every SAARC country in line with the provisions of SAFTA,” the India envoy said. He said that the non-tariff and para-tariff barriers in India such as technical standard certification, sanitary and health regulations were alike for all the trading partners and these were not Pakistan specific.

“The potential of bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is much larger than the $2 billion approximately in recent years.”

As the fastest growing of the economy of the region, India had the potential to become a growth opportunity for all its neighbours. This potential could be realised fully if SAARC, as a whole, became more integrated, he said, referring that Intra-SAARC exports were a mere 5 percent of the total exports of the region.

He also referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s vision of transformed South Asia where with the cooperation of all of India’s neighbours, the region moves from poverty to prosperity and from ignorance to a knowledge society.

KCCI President Abdul Majeed Haji Mohammad said that there was a great potential in India for Pakistani exports of marine, plastic products, rice, raw wool, leather products, cotton and made-ups, textiles, surgical equipment and dry fruits etc.

“In this era of globalisation and advanced technology, it is essential to strengthen bilateral friendly relationship with the countries around the globe. Peace, harmony and friendly relationship with other countries are essential for development and progress of any country.”

He said that there were a number of factors responsible for unrest in the world. The developed nations were not playing their true role in managing the world instead they were imposing their laws on the rest of the world. “To save this world for our next generations, it is imperative that we must sit together in peace and resolve our differences amicably.”

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