LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) have agreed to form a committee to sort out all Non-Tariff Barriers hitting Pak-India trade.

The decision was made at a meeting between LCCI and CII here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday. The head of 17-member high-powered CII delegation Mr Kiran Vohra and LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar discussed all the issues threadbare.

The 10-member LCCI-CII committee comprising five members each from Pakistan and India would also look at logistics related issues for smooth flow of goods between the two sides. There was a resolve on both the sides that the committee would influence their respective governments for an early removal of hurdles and hitches impacting upon the two-way trade.

Non-issuance of visas by the Indian side and apprehensions of Pharma sector and Engineering Industry also debated in detail at the meeting.

The Head of CII delegation Kiran Vohra said that there is no second opinion about it that for a win-win situation, Pakistan and India would have to share opportunities.

“It is not good for us to find opportunities in Pakistan until we find better opportunities for Pakistan in India.” He said that Indian private sector is ready to go to any extent to strengthen business community in Pakistan. Nothing is better than having a strong neighbor.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that frequent exchanges of businessmen delegations from both sides clearly indicate that private sector representatives of Pakistan and India are very much eager to play their respective roles in promoting direct trade with each other.

He said no one can deny the fact that neither government-to-government nor private-sector-to-private-sector contacts can achieve the desired results alone. It has to be a full fledged effort engaging all the stakeholders in the process of developing closer relations. He said the size of Indian economy and opening of free trade would relatively pose bigger challenges to our industry. There are considerable differences prevailing in cost of doing business, duty structures, economies of scale etc between Pakistan and India. The LCCI President said that the best way to start with is to identify areas of economic cooperation. Joint ventures, out-sourcing and sharing of technology etc. will further pave the way for trade expansion. There are certain sectors of Pakistan like pharmaceuticals, auto industry etc where open market competition will be highly disadvantageous to us.

He said that both the sides have to show a lot of maturity in approaching to the idea of increasing regional trade. The intention should be win-win situation for both the nations rather going for cut throat competition.Pakistan’s imports from India are almost six times more than its exports. The unfavourable trade balance with India is not an issue.

As long as, we can import from India certain raw materials, semi-finished goods and some finished goods at cheaper rates than from other countries, it goes in our favor.

Pakistan considers India as a big market for Pakistani products as well. Currently, the non tariff barriers being faced by Pakistani exporters are creating enormous problems. However, recent measures taken in this regard by the Indian government are encouraging and much appreciated. But still a lot is desired to be done in this regard.