LAHORE - Federal Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim has said that both the governments of Pakistan and India are determined to ensure normalization of trade. He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of The India Show here at the Expo Centre on Saturday.

Amin Fahim said that the government was well aware of the reservations being expressed by the certain sectors of the economy. He, however, urged the Pakistani pharmaceutical manufacturers to bring down prices of their products to compete with the pharma companies of other side. He said discussion was underway for three years multiple visas for the business community.

Responding to a question, he said that talks are underway between Indian and Pakistan regarding the granting of MFN status to India.

Amin Fahim admitted that existing infrastructure at Wagha border was insufficient to handle the volume of bilateral trade. “Things are gradually improving on both sides and infrastructure development was also underway”, he said.

He said stakeholders of the both the sides were meeting to resolve the issues faced by the commerce and trade and no decision would be made in haste.

He said that India granted us MFN status in 1996 but we are still continuing with a positive list of importable items from India. In spite of that Pakistan could not take advantage mainly because of the non-tariff barriers and some other impediments on the part of Indian Government.

He said that documented bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is around $2 billion whereas the actual potential is around $10 billion.

Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal speaking on the occasion said that the India want to share its growth potential with other countries especially with its neighbours. He said that India wants cooperation with Pakistan and bilateral trade would harness the economic prosperity of the both sides.  Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that business community was in favour of promotion of trade especially with neighbouring countries. But, he said, it does not favour any agreement at the cost of industry.

The LCCI President said that there are serious concerns and reservations from some of the industries including pharmaceutical, automobile, motorcycle, auto parts, sugar, textiles, cooking oil/ghee and etc. Any forward step without addressing the concerns and fears of private sector with regard to awarding MFN status to India will only result in causing more problems to our industry.

The SAARC Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik said that trade among the regional countries is the best answer to ongoing global financial meltdown.