LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Monday made it clear that MFN Status to India would be of little benefit to Pakistan unless and until all Pakistan-specific NTBs are removed and the core issues are addressed.

This was stated by the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh while talking to a panel of experts including former Finance Minister Shahid Javaid Burki, former foreign Secretary Tasnim Noorani and Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha. LCCI Vice President Saeeda Nazar, former Senior Vice President Yaqoob Tahir Izhar, former Vice President Aftab Ahmab Vohra, Executive Committee Member Ahmad Husnain, Vice Chairman PIAF Nadir Kamal Usman and former Executive Committee Member Amjid Ali Jawa also spoke on the occasion and gave their point of view on this issue of national importance.

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said given the size of the two economies and trade level, Indian firms are likely to gain much more than Pakistani businesses. This is simply about export competitiveness and level of readiness to participate in international markets. This is where India has advantage over Pakistan.

The LCCI President said that in the presence of core issues between the two countries and multiple NTBs imposed by India, the desired results from opening up trade can not be fully realized. This is a very serious challenge for both the countries moving forward.

Irfan Qaiser said there are numerous conditions, Pakistani exporters have to meet in order to get the shipments cleared which include agriculture permits, Indian standard of quality, licensing requirement for import of vehicles, textile specific barriers, health and safety regulations and many more.

The LCCI President said that complain of rigid application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary in India concerning food exports as well as compliance with labelling, testing and certification. It is believed that most of these restrictions and requirements are Pakistan-specific whereas we give much farer treatment to Indian exporters.

It appears that for Pakistani exporters, the compliance with export documentation, procedures and standards is made very cumbersome and various complications are fabricated during transit and at clearance stage. Pakistani companies exporting to India have often raised concerns over time consuming and excessively bureaucratic nature of examination, appraisal, assessment and evaluation at Indian Custom ports but no attention has been paid to that except promises.