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Published Date: May 15, 2013

SDPI Press Release (May 15, 2013)

Pak
India Business Council and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in a
meeting held here on Wednesday expressed the desire for keeping trade normalization
process between India and Pakistan on a steady track.

Deliberating
on at the occasion, Chairman of Pak India Business Council Noor Muhammad Kasuri
informed that Pakistan chapter of newly established ‘Pakistan India Joint
Business Council’ will have its first meeting in Lahore on 17th May 2013 in
which it would discuss the way forward regarding trade integration between
India and Pakistan and prepare agenda for joint meeting to be held in July 2013
with Indian counterparts.

Chairman
of the council felicitated the new elected government and welcomed Mian Nawaz
Sharif’s intensions for normalization of bilateral relations and appreciated
his stance on giving MFN status to India.

Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy Executive
Director SDPI was of the opinion that despite political tensions, trade should
continue on both sides and added that business community and civil society
should play their role in this important endeavor.

“Consumer
associations in Pakistan must realize that inflation can significantly reduce
if trade with India is further liberalized,” he added. He lamented the fact
that land route of only Wagha/Attari is opened for trade with India while other
routes are still closed. He also mentioned that Sindh is the only province in Pakistan
which is deprived of trade with its regional neighbor while all other provinces
are doing trade with neighboring countries.

The
research at SDPI has indicated that despite of so many trade barriers, there is
substantial consumer demand for Indian products owning to their better quality
and lower prices. It is estimated that Indian goods worth US $4.2 billion
dollars enters Pakistan through informal channels annually. “If the government
removes trade restrictions and improves border related infrastructure this huge
informal flow can be formalized, resulting in revenue gains for government of
Pakistan,” he added.