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Mubrak Zeb Khan

Dawn

Published Date: Oct 25, 2014

Pakistan to continue trade with India

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minis­ter for Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan said
on Friday that Pakistan will continue trade with its neighbours,
including India, despite border tensions.

The minister said that
PML-N government is committed to increase regional trade as part of
promoting peace without compromising on national sovereignty. “The
vision of our government is that we must trade with our neighbours,” he
said.

Speaking at a consultative meeting “Trade with Neighbours:
Prospects and Challenges”, organised by the Sustainable Development
Policy Institute (SDPI), the minister said that the country’s current
tension with India is casting a shadow on economic ties.

The
minister said that Pakistan would have to trade in energy for import of
electricity from India to overcome the energy crisis. The minister
admitted that no doubt extraordinary concessions were given to
neighbours for trade facilitation.

“We have been trying to
finalise our projects with Iran as well,” the minister said, adding that
due to international pressure, his government is facing difficulties
according to modes of international payments. Pakistan is already
purchasing electricity at Gwadar Port from Iran.

Regarding talks on trade with China, the minister stated that Pakistan has already had a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.

“The
direction of this government is to encourage investment. A new change
will be noticed if Gwadar Port is linked with the North,” he said.

Pakistan,
he said, was also planning to develop trading land ports at Pakistan’s
three neighbouring junction points — Wagha, Torkham and Chaman — as
gateways to regional trade.

State Minister for Privatisation
Mohammad Zubair supported the notion of opening of border for trade with
India. “Pakistan should trade with India for better standard of living
of its own people,” the minister said.

“If we want to develop, we
should contribute. It is not about India’s domination on us, we
absolutely want good relations with India,” the minister said.

The
privatisation minister said that it was time to start with a bold
decision. “No country in the world can improve its relations without
going into business,” he said.

In 2008, he said IBM Pakistan had 400 people while India had 75,000. Foreigners love to invest in India, the minister said.

Dr
Abid Qayyum Suleri, SDPI’s Executive Director, while upholding the
narrative that trade can bring peace, said that countries cannot change
their neighbours and regional trade is all about neighbours, building
alliance and synergies for economic and social development to minimise
conflict and promote peaceful coexistence.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/news/1140138/pakistan-to-continue-trade-with-india