ISLAMABAD: With increased demand for boosting trade between Pakistan and India on both sides, the PML (N) government is considering granting of Non Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) for reciprocating on New Delhi’s demand to match with Most Favored Nation (MFN) status which India granted to Pakistan during the decade of 90s.
As a step in the right direction, the government is conducting consultation with all stakeholders including key players of different industries to get their input for maximizing benefits in terms of ensuring maximizing penetration of our goods into Indian markets as well as protecting industries from flux of imports going to happen after normalizing bilateral trade ties with the neighboring country.
This kind of homework is pre-requisite to get maximum benefits from normalizing trade ties. Although, the government has adopted wait-and-see policy on the issue of granting NDMA status to India in the wake of ongoing political transition happening across the border on political horizon. When the political dust is going to settle then Pakistan will move ahead with granting NDMA for India.
Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had told reporters in Islamabad that Pakistan had linked for granting NDMA status to India with removal of non tariff barriers (NTBs). The granting of NDMA, according to him, was not going to happen in next few months.
During this period, Pakistan needs to conduct in-depth analysis on the basis of each tariff line of over 6666 items in which each tariff line is consisted of different products which will give an idea to the policymakers about cost-benefit analysis on account of opening up of trade with India.
In this regard, Federal Minister for Finance, Ishaq Dar chaired a high level meeting last week to examine trade with India.
The minister was given a detailed presentation by Secretary Commerce on the broader framework of the roadmap to move ahead on non-discriminatory market access for Pakistan’s exports to India.
He briefed the Committee on the pros and cons of normalization of trade relations with India and the benefits Pakistan will accrue in export of textile and manufacturing goods.
Finance Minister had instructed during the meeting that it should be ensured that all the concessions are on reciprocal basis and concerns of our industry should be taken care in the future arrangement.
In his policy thrust, he said that import from India should substitute our import from other countries which will save valuable foreign exchange. There should be meaningful market access and level playing field for Pakistan’s exports to India. The Committee will present its detailed report to the Cabinet for consideration.
A detailed research is required to be presented before the Cabinet in coming months which will enable the government to take a decision in the larger interest of the country as well as for promoting industry and trade activities by getting benefits of proximity by boosting relations with India.