KARACHI- The business community seems to be divided on the issue of trade with India and awarding the neighbouring country MFN (Most favoured Nation) status as interests of the industrialists/manufacturers and traders run in totally different directions. The sources have informed that local industrialists and manufacturers are likely to protest against the trading-based mafias controlling the main trade bodies like the FPCCI. They said that the segregation over MFN status to India is creating a rift between the two groups. Local industrialists and manufacturers say that they have had no benefit of MFN status given to Pakistan by India in 1995 due to clever tactics of the Indian government. While on the other hand, traders are saying that Pakistans decision to award MFN status to India will benefit the Pakistani businesses. When contacted, a former chairman of Karachi Chamber of Commerce commented that the logic behind Pakistans benefit is not understandable as the country has already had MFN status since 1995 but due to non-tariff barriers created by Indian bureaucracy, the Pakistani exporters could not get access to Indian markets due to various reasons. He continued that cement and textile sectors are the best examples where Pakistani cement manufacturers have been demanding removal of non-tariff barriers but even the Pakistani government, contemplating MFN status for India, could not persuade the Indian government for the same. The Pakistani textile, he mentioned, was deliberately stopped by the Indian authorities due to of being superior quality and they feared the Pakistani textile would supersede the Indian textile. Declaring India as MFN will only give a meagre business of $150 million to the textile sector as European Union is likely to allow imports from Pakistan after this decision, he added. The sources said that the traders lobby is trying tooth and nail to get access to European Union thats why they are using India as a staircase at the cost of local industries and manufacturers. The cement manufacturers pointed out that exports from Pakistan remained negligible to India even after MFN status due to smartly placed non-tariff barriers by India on the imports from Pakistan and other countries. They claimed that Pakistani cement is better in quality than Indian cement and also cheaper for Indian markets. In view of this competitive advantage, they asserted, Indian government creates hurdles in free trade to protect its local industries first. They disclosed that cement export to India is subjected to certification from Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The export licenses are issued to the exporters after visiting the factory premises and carrying out laboratory tests, to ensure that cement quality conforms to BIS standard. The license validity is for one or maximum two years. It is mandatory requirement of BIS to conduct a quality inspection visit once in two years' time, only then they can issue renewal. To visit Pakistan, all Indian officials have to seek for approval from their Ministry of Interior and the process takes a lot of time, thereby creating a major bottleneck for business. The recent inspection visit of BIS representative got delayed for over six months and then the BIS inspector refused to go to four of our cement factories namely Attock Cement, Cherat cement, D.G. Khan Cement and Kohat Cement, effectively eliminating them for export to India, they added. The cement makers stated that presently all cement export via land route are through train. Trains have limited capacity and additionally the train movement between the two countries is governed by another treaty according to which only limited number of interchanges of trains can take place. Moreover, train movement involves double loading/unloading and storage requirement, at Lahore only, limited quantity can be transported. On manufacturers suggestion, they said, Pakistani government proposed the Indians to allow Pakistani trucks to carry cement to the Indian side of the border where transhipment should be carried out to Indian trucks but the Indians lamented absence facility or parking area on their side. The facility has now been developed by Indians close to the border which can be used for transhipment area. It should become operational now if the Indians are sincere in free trade.