Islamabad, Nov. 22 (NNN):In the light of the recent SAPTA negotiations, Pakistan has expanded its Positive List of importable items from India by another 81 categories of goods.
During the fourth round of South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) negotiations, which were completed on December 3, 2003, India had agreed to grant tariff concessions to 262 additional items. In exchange Pakistan had agreed to grant concessions on 223 items.
Out of these 223 items, 81 items were not previously included in the list of items importable from India.
Therefore, these 81 items were required to be included in the Positive List of the Import Policy, which has now been done after completing necessary legal and procedural requirements. A report said that according to sources, the expansion of positive list on the part of Pakistan has been an old demand of India.
In fact, they said New Delhi wants the trade with Islamabad on the basis of negative list, which is usual practice as far as the trade ties between the other world nations is concerned.During the trade talks with Pakistan back in August this year, India made a demand of MFN status along with the expansion of positive list.
However, during those commerce secretaries’ talks no concrete progress could be made and both the sides expressed optimism to continue the dialogue in future in order to enhance the volume of bilateral trade and economic cooperation.
The sources termed the expansion of positive list by Islamabad as a very significant development. They predicted its further expansion in the next round of Pakistan-India trade talks scheduled to be held next month.
However, the sources said Pakistan has linked the acceptance of Indian demand about the MFN status to the sustained political dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, a condition which Islamabad is likely to abide by in future as well.
About the Pakistan-India bilateral trade, a source said that Pakistan exported $81 million worth of goods to India while imports from India stood at $300 million during the last year. However, he added that the unofficial trade between the two countries via third country is much more higher.