The Pak-US Business Council crucial meet in Washington has been postponed as the Nawaz government chooses to enter into a deal with India on trade liberalization as it appends more importance to trade with India. It will help Pakistan boost its textile sector.
If the deal is inked, Pakistan will get maximum tariff concessions for its export-oriented industry on up to 300 items and will eliminate non-tariff barriers and in return Pakistan will extend MFN status or non-discriminatory market access (NDMA) to India by the end of March, when this agreement is announced. The deal will provide a level playing field to Pakistani traders for which India will relax its restrictive tariff regime for Pakistani products and will give tariff concession on various products pertaining to Pakistanâ€™s strong sectors such as textile.
After the trade deal gets done, both the countries will trade 8,000 items in total. Pakistan is strong on textiles and on textile exports but to Indiaâ€™s existing tariff stands at 60-120 percent, Pakistan is unable to increase its textile exports as expected. India has indicated to bring down the tariff on textile product to 5 percent.
Pakistanâ€™s existing exports to India stand at $350 million which will see a rise to $1 billion in one year and if Pakistani entrepreneurs play smartly, Pakistan export can move up close to $2 billion in one year soon after the tariff concession and abolition of NTB (non-tariff barriers) under the MFN deal.
The officials disclosed that the World Bank will also be on board for trade liberalisation between the two countries and extend grants which are to be used to develop infrastructure on both sides of the Wagah border with the aim to facilitate trade.
Senior officials of various economic ministries involved in the working for trade concession on various items from India revealed that under the existing negative list of 1,209 items will be abolished and trade at the Wagah border will be opened round the clock,.
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