Pakistan has not yet granted the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India while India granted the status way back in 1996. With Pakistan granting the MFN status to India, it will open new clear direct trade between the two countries and also help in reducing transactions cost.
According to Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, with the grant of MFN status the trade would then take place bilaterally at significantly lower cost. It will also restore Pakistan's international commitment under WTO of reciprocity to MFN status.
India will also gain considerably by restoration of direct trade connectivity with Pakistan which is estimated to raise the country's exports quite substantially.
At present trade between India and Pakistan takes place through UAE and Singapore to the tune of USD 3 billion as reported. The two-way commerce between the countries stands at USD 2.72 billion. The total bilateral trade can rise to the level of USD 10-12 billion in the years to come, as per experts, she mentioned.
Pakistan has decided to postpone grant of Non- Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) status to India due to lack of consensus at home. To avoid political ramifications, the Pakistan government has chosen NDMA that is nomenclature for giving India the MFN status.
India's main exports to Pakistan include man-made filaments, chemicals and sugar, while its imports comprise mineral fuels, among others.
On Special Economic Zones (SEZ) as on July 22, the Board of Approval has cleared 69 requests for de-notification of SEZs.
Sitharaman in her reply to Lok Sabha mentioned that the government has not decided its policy on permitting foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail trade.
No decision on FDI in multi-brand retail trading has been taken. The FDI inflows of USD 273.61 million have been recorded by the government since allowing FDI in retail.
As per the current policy, 51 percent FDI is permitted in multi-brand retail trading which was strongly opposed by BJP when the UPA-led government announced the policy. However, 100 percent FDI is permitted in single brand retail under automatic route.
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