ISLAMABAD – The business community has hailed India’s decision to reduce 264 tariff lines for SAFTA sensitive list, which would further improve bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and India.

ICCI President Yassar Sakhi Butt, during a meeting at Chamber House, said that 30 percent reduction in sensitive list from 878 to 614 tariff lines would harmonize the SAFTA framework as well as normalize the mutual trade relations with Pakistan.

He said that items of Pakistan’s exportable interest should be included in the reduced tariff lines 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.

ICCI President 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. Yassar Sakhi Butt said that ICCI is in favour of promotion of trade with regional countries, especially with next-door neighbours for the sake of peace, prosperity and economic revival.

ICCI President 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. However, South Asia is still considered the least integrated region due to which it is way behind in economic progress, he opinioned.

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.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has also welcomed India’s decision to reduce 264 tariff lines for SAFTA sensitive list.

President FPCCI Haji Fazal Kadir Sherani, former president SAARC Chamber of Commerce Tariq Sayeed and S M Muneer President India Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Iftikhar Ali Malik, VP Saarc Chamber said this while speaking at a meeting of business community.

They said that this bold decision by the will go a long way in eliminating poverty and help uplift the standard of living of the 40 million people of both the countries living below the poverty line.

At the occasion, Tariq Sayeed welcomed the decision of Indian government to allow Pakistani investors to purchase shares and debentures in Indian companies and entities.

He said that that 30 per cent reduction in SAFTA is a decision in the right direction, which aimed at increasing regional trade. India has already allowed tariff reduction on 264 SAFTA items which would benefit Pakistani exporters.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said that the Indian government has approved reduction of 30% (264 tariff lines,) from the SAFTA sensitive list for NLDCs allowing the peak tariff rates to reduce to 5% within three years, as per agreed SAFTA process of tariff liberalization. This shall reduce India’s Sensitive list for Pakistan from 878 to 614 tariff lines.