Pakistan assures MFN status to India

Pakistan has assured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it was moving forward with eliminating the negative list on trade with New Delhi and granting the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India as part of its overall trade policy, a media report said Saturday.

“We are moving forward with eliminating the negative list on trade with India and extending India most favoured nation status, and shifting to “sensitive list” under SAFTA (South Asia Free Trade Arrangement) regime to facilitate increased regional trade,” finance minister Ishaq Dar said.

The minister said this in a written assurance to the IMF during negotiations for recently approved $6.64 billion economic bailout package, The Dawn daily said in a report.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government had decided in March last year to switch over from positive list of about 1,900 tradable items to a negative list of about 1,206 items, thereby allowing about 5,000 items to be traded between the two countries.

The PPP government’s assurance on December 31 last year that it would grant MFN status to India by doing away with the negative list has not materialised.

Earlier in an interview to state-run PTV, Dar had said that granting of MFN status to India is not on the table “for the time being.”

Dar had, however, said Pakistan is committed to promoting relations with neighbouring countries with particular focus on economic and trade cooperation.

The bilateral trade between the nations stood at $2.35 billion in 2012-13, as against $1.93 billion in the previous fiscal.

The Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP), the finance minister submitted to the IMF on August 19, has spelt out the major contours of the trade policy with primary focus on normalisation of trade relations, the media report said.

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