LAHORE  - Islamabad is going to accord status of Non Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to India and the government will make announcement in this regard on February 15, when a high powered Indian delegation will be visiting Lahore, sources said.

As the term MFN was not acceptable to few groups, a more acceptable terminology of NDMA will be used to liberalize trade process with the neighbouring country.

In a recent meeting with leading businessmen of the country, Minister of Commerce, Khurram Dastagir had shared privately that government has decided to accord NDMA status to India, demanding reciprocal development from the Indian side and this announcement will be made when high powered delegation of Indian diplomats, politicians and businessmen visits Lahore next week.

Majority of trade bodies and business houses in Pakistan have appreciated the efforts of commerce minister in this regard and consider the decision “a landmark” in the history of both countries as it will further result in acceleration of trade normalisation, liberalisation and facilitation process between the two countries and lead to enhancing Pakistan’s prospects for peace and prosperity.

NDMA will definitely benefit the traders of both countries especially Pakistani traders who have been denied full market access on the pretext of different non tariff barriers imposed by Indian government despite the fact that Pakistan is already an MFN country for India.

FPCCI president Zubair Malik said that it is through this visionary approach of the government that we will be witnessing significant development in the Pak-India relationship in the coming years. Moreover, our trade could increase by two times in FY 2014 which is currently lower than $3 billion.

LCCI president Sohail Lashari said that the non-discriminatory market access (NDMA) and opening of Wagha- Attari border for 24 hours throughout the year is destined to boost bilateral trade regime between India and Pakistan.

Some experts have even estimated that normalised trade regime could eventually send these figures soaring to $40 billion.

Few industrial sectors are stunned by the pace of developments and the lack of understanding shown by the PML N govt. They said that the MFN or NDMA status to India may bode well for other industries, but for pharmaceutical sector it will be disastrous on many accounts.

Pharmaceutical sector has also tried to record its opposition to NDMA calling it against national interest, chairman of PPMA’s zonal committee (Balochistan) Mr. Asif Akhai said that onslaught of Indian cheap, though quality drugs, will force the pharmaceutical industry to close down.

Recently, farmers from Sindh staged opposition to NDMA and said that a comparative analysis of agricultural industry of both countries will be sufficient in clarifying that asymmetry exists in the subsidies that are extended to the farmers in both countries.

Moreover, Pakistani produced cement that has huge demand in Indian market, is facing huge demand and supply gap witnessing record decline in exports in the first 6 months of the FY 2013-2014 due to the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) imposed by Indian authorities.

While talking about position of auto industry on trade with India, auto sector said that the dynamics and economies of scale in both the countries are quite different.

India manufactures around two million vehicles a year while Pakistan produces just 150,000 vehicles a year. Further, the law and order situation and the scarcity of utilities means there can’t be a level playing field for the two.