New Delhi: Pakistan took further steps toward normal trade and travel ties with India on Tuesday, agreeing to open most commerce with its larger neighbour by February in the latest sign of a thaw in relations between the nuclear-armed rivals.
At a bilateral meeting in Delhi, the two countries’ trade secretaries agreed Pakistan will notify India by February of a “negative list” of items that it cannot trade with its neighbour, minutes of the meeting showed.
“There has been further progress,” India’s trade secretary Rahul Khullar said at a briefing after the meeting with his Pakistani counterpart.
Replacing the current limited “positive list” of items that can be traded with a short list of products that cannot, is a step towards regular trade ties.
Commerce secretary RahulKhullar (R) shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Zafar Mehmood during a meeting in New Delhi on Monday. PTI
Earlier this month, Pakistan promised to give India a most favoured nation trade status, a move that would end heavy restrictions on what India is allowed to export across the border.
India and Pakistan also agreed to push for easing of visa rules that severely restrict business travel across the heavily armed border. They will look at the feasibility of electricity trading and will open a second road trading post by February.
Pakistan’s trade secretary Zafar Mehmood said the negative list would be drawn up within a couple of months and said an expert panel would decide in January on allowing the trade of oil products.