Lahore - The faculty of the Economics Department of the Lahore University of Management Sciences, (LUMS), through the Development Policy Research Centre, has been involved in researching the implications of liberalizing trade with India on Pakistan’s economy, in particular, the agriculture and business sectors of the country.

The Development Policy Research Centre is headed by Dr. Mohsin Khan, former Director of the IMF and currently Senior Fellow with the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council. The LUMS team, including Dr. Turab Hussain, Mr. Usman Khan and Mr. Abid Hussain Imam, addressing the press conference here at a local hotel on Monday, said that the launch of the research papers are aimed at educating the public regarding the ramifications of opening up trade with India.

The discussion during the media briefing centered around certain key issues that have been identified during the course of the research at LUMs to be the major concern when open trade with India is considered. In addition, various strategies for ensuring the mitigation of negative trade outcomes as well as possible strategies for negotiating favorably for Pakistan’s economy were discussed. In particular, there was a detailed discussion held around the research on the impact of open trade with India, on the agriculture sector.

This discussion was particularly relevant as it was based on the first of the four articles to be published in the newspapers over the next couple of months. Dr. Turab Hussain, explained in some detail, how the major hindrance to open trade with India, as far as the agriculture sector was concerned, was the high degree restrictions placed by India that hamper exports for Pakistan entering India. Therefore, he explained how policy dialogue at bilateral level should focus more on negotiating relaxations on this front.

In addition, the briefing also focused on other key findings of this research project, which will include findings relating to the impact on domestic auto and pharmaceutical industries of opening trade with India. The research will be wholly dedicated to exploring alternate dispute resolution mechanisms, which would help facilitate open trade between the two countries.

The LUMs team stressed that the objective behind this research was to create awareness amongst the public and to shift discourse both within the public, and within policy making circles, with regard to trade with India, away from solely political concerns to include strategic and economic impacts of closer trade ties with India.