LAHORE – The Indian regulatory agencies to brief Pakistani traders on Indian import of regime, clarifying the misconception and nervousness of trade bodies’ representatives regarding non tariff barriers (NTBs) in their country.

The Indian government agreed during the 6th Round of Commerce Secretaries level talks to send a delegation to Pakistan consisting of officials from Indian regulatory agencies to educate the Pakistani businessmen on Indian import of regime, said a press release issued by TDAP here on Tuesday. It said that the delegation will also try to clear specific reservations and apprehensions of the business community regarding non tariff barriers in Indian Import Regime.

According to press release, an Indian delegation is scheduled to visit Pakistan from January 26 to January 27 2012. The Indian regulators will hold meetings with the Pakistani businessmen regarding regulations, standards and certification requirements for export to India on 26 January 2012 at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

It is to be noted that the granting of most favoured nation status to India, has been fodder for debates in the media. Proponents of granting MFN status to India point to the fact that India has already granted the same to Pakistan. Some experts said that the extremely complex non-tariff barriers erected by most states of that country have rendered this move by the Indian government, as a largely token gesture.

Pakistani manufacturers and the industry stakeholders have called on the government to take steps to protect the local industry before extending MFN status to India. Commerce secretary Zafar Mahmood has already assured that the implementation of the MFN status is subject to the provision of level playing field for Pakistani businesses; particularly exporters.

These fears of being washed away by a flood of Indian products in local markets, are shared by several sectors. At the heart of the debate, remains the plethora of non-tariff barriers erected by state authorities in India.

It follows that a lasting resolution for genuine concerns of local industry in this regard must come through steps by Indian authorities to remove NTBs and truly open up markets on a level footing. Besides, if the two countries really want to implement concrete steps for economic integration, they must persevere to do away with protectionist measures; not beef them up.