LAHORE - Pakistan’s exports to India, which were $288 million in 2004-2005, declined by 8 per cent to $264 million in 2010-2011. On the other hand, India’s exports to Pakistan increased by 218 per cent to $1743 million in 2010-2011 from $547 million in 2004- 2005.

The business community was of the view that Pakistan, despite all the efforts for improving the bilateral trade and given MFN status, has failed to penetrate its products in Indian market due to complicated NTBs set by authorities of neighboring country, whereas Indian exports have been flourishing in Pakistani market in terms of products, volumes and values.

They said that the trade imbalance between the two countries is a discomforting scenario for Pakistan. Giving MFN status to India and allowing import of many items will have devastating effect on the country’s economic condition.

They mentioned that Pakistan’s traders received handsome orders from Indian importers but custom documentation, import licenses and quality standard certificates are major hurdles that ceased the growth in Pakistan’s export to Indian market.

Ishtiaq Hussain Siddiqui, CEO of S.M Engineers & Metal works, observed that custom’s extensive documentation inhibits free flow of Pakistan’s goods. These delays are due to complex tariff structure and multiple exemptions because the instructions in a consolidated form are not available in one volume.

Taha Khan Javed, head of research at Taurus Securities, said that Pakistani exporters continue to face artificial barriers when exporting to India while India’s export to Pakistan is on an increasing trend. Even in goods such as cement where there is a deficit on the Indian side; cement exporters are unable to make substantial inroads through Wagah border.

He mentioned that according to USAID report India has liberalized only 43 % trade for Pakistani goods and that does not include any preferential treatment to our main exports.

Ishtiaq Hussain Siddiqui said that sustainable trade relations need to be a win-win situation rather than win-lose situation for any one country. The rules of the game have to be defined which are fair to both trading partners.