LAHORE - The auto parts manufacturers have welcomed the recent Pak-India trade pact to continue 24 hours trade through Wagha-Attari land route and approving of liberalized visa policy for businessmen to help expand bilateral trade.

The industry representatives greeted Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan for conducting successful talks to expeditiously establish normal trade ties and providing non-discriminatory market access on a reciprocal basis, with commitment of protecting local industry, as Pakistan’s domestic industry is in a gross comparative disadvantage position in terms of energy and access to credit. They made it clear that Pakistan’s auto industry is not prepared for phasing out negative list, as our government has not carried out administrative and organizational changes in their internal systems, for gearing up to the onslaught of Indian products. They said they wanted manufacturing based trade with India and does not want Pakistan to become a market for Indian finished goods, he stated.

Paapam chairman Usman Malik recommended the government to allow import of raw material, inputs, machine tools, machinery & equipment and other set of products categorized under industrial inputs through land route.

“The re-exportable items can also be allowed by establishing a specific framework as several international buyers, who hesitate to come into Pakistan and have established warehouses in Indian Punjab, would buy Pak goods directly through Wagha route to save freight cost.” “The auto sector has made clear to the concerned quarters that the Association will always welcome manufacturing and technology based investments from India. Further all trade openings should be two ways rather than one way. It is appreciable that minister has given assurance that auto sector, pharmaceutical sector and agriculture items would be fully protected, as India was extending massive hidden subsidies to its different sectors and allowing import of those goods would have negative impact on local industry.”

Moreover, Pakistan’s exportable items inclusion in the reduced tariff lines is also vital as balance of trade between the two countries is heavily tilted in favour of India, which requires to be turned into a win-win situation for both the countries.

PAAPAM chairman was of the view that non-tariff barriers are the biggest impediment in the way of bilateral trade between Pakistan and India, which should be dismantled on priority basis. He said that PAAPAM is in favour of promotion of trade with regional countries, especially with next-door neighbours for the sake of peace, prosperity and economic revival.

He said that it is the era of economic collaboration and competition as many regions have already made big strides to promote trade by establishing regional block. He said that stronger economic relations between India and Pakistan would not only prove beneficial for both the countries, it would also contribute significantly in promoting regional integration and stability in South Asia.