India, Pakistan vow to boost trade but ‘rice war’ will continue

India, Pakistan vow to boost trade but ‘rice war’ will continue
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First Published: Wed, Aug 01 2007. 07 24 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Aug 01 2007. 07 24 PM IST
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New Delhi: India and Pakistan ended a bilateral trade talk with a vow to jack up trade nearly ten-fold by 2010, but clashed over export rights of premium basmati rice.
The two sides wrapped up two days of talks — the fourth round since the peace process began in 2004 —with an agreement to boost cross-border freight traffic known as “truck diplomacy” to improve ties.
“We are looking at a trade basket as large as possible to achieve $10 billion by 2010 and we believe it will be in the advantage of both the countries,” Pakistani commerce secretary Syed Asif Shah told reporters.
“It’s achievable ... We are positive of that,” added Shah’s Indian counterpart G.K. Pillai.
Pakistan’s exports to India stood at $323 million while Indian exports to Pakistan crossed $ 1billion in 2005-2006.
Delegates said the two sides failed to agree on Islamabad’s contention that New Delhi cannot export the long-grained aromatic basmati rice under the brand “Super.”
“Super basmati has evolved and being exported from Pakistan from day one and it is our belief Indian exports under this brand hurts our interest,” Shah said.
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First Published: Wed, Aug 01 2007. 07 24 PM IST