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Dawn

Published Date: Jan 30, 2013

Exports to India grow faster than imports

ISLAMABAD: The Indian High Commission said on Tuesday
that Pakistan’s exports to India had grown faster than imports  despite
missing of a deadline of Dec 31 for complete trade liberalisation regime
between the two countries.

A
recent tension between Pakistan and India over Line of Control led to
suspension of revised visa regime along with cross-border bus service in
Kashmir. After signs of easing of tension, bus service between Poonch and
Rawalakot was resumed on Monday.

For
the commerce ministry in Pakistan, the delay in complete liberalisation was
because of procedural hiccups along with political compulsion, but for the
skeptics in Pakistan, the LoC tension provides an opportunity to propagate for
reversal of all those measures taken so far for complete liberalisation of
trade regime with India.

An
official, who did not want to be named, said it was India which provides a
platform to the people who were opposing trade liberalisation between the two
countries.

“India
unilaterally decided to suspend the implementation of the revised visa regime”,
the official said, adding it was not a wise decision.

Pakistan
was so concerned about the delay in trade liberalisation that Pakistan’s Commerce
Minister Amin Fahim spoke to his Indian counterpart on telephone for taking him
on board over an issue which is holding up full trade liberalisation with
India.

On
Tuesday, Indian High Commission issued a statement in Islamabad to dispel the
impression that the liberalisation has only benefited Indian exporters which
was mostly believed.

The
analysis was carried out on the basis of latest figures of the Directorate
General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Ministry of Commerce &
Industry (MoCI), Government of India.

The
statement claimed Pakistan’s exports to India between April-December 2012 show
a growth of 66 per cent over the same period in 2011 while India’s exports to
Pakistan grew by 16 per cent in April-December 2012.

Pakistan’s
exports to India in the nine months of 2012 stood at $460 million, which is
much more than $277 million during April-December 2011 and is also more than
the value of Pakistan’s exports to India ($401 million) in the entire previous
year (April 2011-March 2012).

The
growth of $183 million in Pakistan’s exports to India during April-December
2012 is more than the increase of about $170 million in its imports from India
in the same period.

The
devaluation of the Pakistan rupee was one of the major factors for growth in
exports to India.

The
MoCI figures also indicate that the share of Pakistan’s exports in bilateral
trade with India have almost doubled since 2009-10.

According
to the Indian High Commission, the impressive increase in Pakistan’s exports
during April-December 2012 reflects the benefits of the steps taken to enhance
bilateral trade, and improvement of trade environment, aided by SAFTA tariff
reductions.

In
order to address concerns of Pakistan’s exporters, the two countries had also
signed three agreements in 2012 in areas of customs cooperation, mutual
recognition of standards and redressal of trade grievances.

A
number of trade organisations in both the countries have promoted, especially
in 2012, greater exchange of trade and business delegations between India and
Pakistan. Liberalised visa provisions pertaining to business persons will
further facilitate such exchanges.

Meanwhile,
experts at a roundtable discussion on Tuesday urged increased bilateral trade
between India and Pakistan and said that trade could be a catalyst for peace by
enhancing bilateral relations, increasing economic growth and reducing poverty
in the region.