LAHORE - The speakers at a seminar organised by TDAP have stressed the need for expanding trade relations between India and Pakistan, as it would benefit both the countries. They said that India has not imposed any Pakistan-specific trade restrictions and it has a uniform trade policy about quality and certification for all countries. So Pak traders can compete with India.

“Granting Most Favoured Nation status to India will benefit both countries as the businessmen of the two countries will find greater chance to explore opportunities and boost their businesses. Some misconceptions associated with the MFN have made the whole issue disputable which should be clarified to dispel the fears of business community”, said Dr Manzoor Ahmed, former ambassador of Pakistan to (WTO) Geneva.

Addressing the seminar on ‘Pak-India trade’, he said that that MFN will not allow Indians to export everything to Pakistan. Moreover, authorities of the two countries are seriously working to save local industry from any adverse impact. He said that the impression that Pakistan being a small economy will lose is totally wrong. He said that balance of economic power is moving away from developed countries to developing countries. China and India are projected to be the two fastest growing economies of the world over the next several decades. Pakistan is blessed by its location being neighbour to both these large economies, he said. He added that our national economic interests dictate that we should expand our trading relations with both these countries and penetrate their markets.

The question arises whether expansion of trade with India will bring benefits to Pakistan? There are lots of misperceptions on this point, which need to be explored. India-Pakistan trade is a win-win situation. India has a middle class of about 300 million people with rising purchasing power and just 10pc penetration into the Indian market would double the market size for Pak cos, he said. All studies on India-Pak trade have so far demonstrated that the relaxation of constraints in the way of trade would benefit both countries.

On this occasion, chairman of the LCCI Standing Committee for Promotion of Pak-India Trade Aftab Ahmed Vohra said that the decision to open another Pak-India trade route at Wahga was need of the hour and would further strengthen trade relations between the two countries.

He said that history suggested that smaller countries have gained from such trade deals; India is a big market offering great opportunities while MFN will help many Pakistanis to reduce cost of doing business.

He said that leadership of both countries seem interested in reducing tensions through trade which can result in our economic turnaround in few years.

He said that India should dismantle barriers, and expedite efforts to address genuine concerns of the business community to realise dream of peace and prosperity through economic cooperation.