ISLAMABAD  India has allowed trade concessions on import of 264 items from Non-Least Developed Countries (N-LDCs) and approved reduction in its sensitive list by 30pc maintained under SAFTA pact including Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The reduction in SAFTA sensitive list would bring down sensitive list items for Pakistan from 878 to 614 tariff lines.

As per SAFTA Ministerial Council, Pakistan has also agreed and announced cut in its sensitive list by 20pc or around 233 items and it is expected that in the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2012-15 Pakistan might approve the reduction.

An official at the Ministry of Commerce informed that after examining the sensitive list approved by the India, it would be possible for the ministry to comment on it.

Items of Pakistan’s exportable interests have been included in it or not, it would be possible for the ministry to comment on it after examining the list by India. Although trade balance is always in favour of India, however, increase in trade between Pakistan and India still to be a dream.

Pakistan’s exports to India during July-March fiscal year 2011-12 amounted to $250.2m and imports from India have been recorded at $1.166m and it is hoped that imports from India will end up at $1.5 billion for the fiscal year. Pakistan is facing trade deficit in trade with India to the tune of $916.3 million for the July-March period 2011-12.

The officials at the Islamabad strongly believed that level-playing field for exporters would be crucial in enhancing the trade and this would depend on how Indian authorities move for unified standards and removal of non-tariff barriers (NTBs).

Commerce Secretaries level talks between Pakistan and India are due in Islamabad in September 2012. The business community expected that forthcoming trade talks would set the actual dimension of bilateral trade as Pakistanis are awaiting Indian response on unified standards and removal of NTBs and other difficulties identified by Pakistani exporters.

Keeping in view the Indian response by September 2012 meeting, the Ministry of Commerce would be in a position to approach the federal cabinet by December 2012 for total elimination of the negative list.