New Delhi: Pakistan’s minister of state for commerce has said that his country could grant more access to Indian exports as mandated under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (Safta).
The agreement came into effect in January 2006, but Pakistan has still restricted India’s exports to just 1,075 items. All other items are in the negative list.
“We are working on something, I will not like to leak this now. There is likely to be breakthrough soon as Pakistan also wants better trade relations with India,”Hamid Yar Hiraj, Pakistan’s minister of state for commerce, told reporters after a meeting with commerce minister Kamal Nath.
Hiraj’s meeting comes just before the Safta ministerial meeting scheduled to be held on 26 February in Kathmandu, Nepal.
An item on the agenda is the non-implementation of Safta by Pakistan with regard to Indian exports.
A release from the commerce ministry says there had been an increase of 129% in India’s trade with Pakistan in the first seven months of the current fiscal.
“Two-way trade has reached a record figure of $977.03 million (Rs4309 crore). This comprises India’s exports to Pakistanvalued at $789.13 million and India’s imports from Pakistan valued at $187.90 million,” the ministry release says.
Hiraj is the head of a 187-member business delegation from Pakistan, the largest ever from the country to visit India.
Both ministers expressed a desire to boost bilateral trade and to promote economic and commercial cooperation, the release added.