New Delhi: Pakistan on 3 May asked India to remove non-tariff barriers so that it could significantly enhance cement exports to the country facing a severe shortage of the key building material.
“Imports in India are subject to meeting excessive standardisation requirement and procedural formalities. Cement is one such case in point. These work as a detriment to bilateral trade,” Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik said.
Over 500 tonnes of Pakistan cement is lying at the Mumbai port awaiting clearance.
However, the Joint Study Group is looking into all these aspects, Malik said at a PHD Chamber seminar.
He said Pakistan would like to enhance trade with India in a business-like manner. “We are ready to float a tender, ask India what it needs and just get on with it,” he said, allaying concerns that Pakistan was holding back the bilateral trade promotion.
Besides cement, Pakistan is keen on selling its surplus wheat to India while it may import tea from its neighbouring country, Malik said. At present, Pakistan imports tea from Kenya but if it gets the beverage from India at a cheaper price, it would be open to the idea.
He rejected the notion that Pakistan was blocking bilateral trade by not granting India the much-talked about ‘Most Favoured Nation´ status. “MFN is a misnomer,” he said.
He said the Pakistan business community expected a level playing field with India and this could be granted if the non-tariff barriers were removed.
Bilateral trade was $1.2 billion in 2006-07. According to a World Bank report, potential exists to take it to nine billion dollars.