Pak may announce negative list soon

New Delhi: Pakistan is likely to announce the negative list soon which will open trade with India for all goods except those mentioned in the small list, a Pakistan
government official has said.

Eventually, the negative list would also be phased out which is the step towards Pakistan granting the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India which may see the light of the day by next year. "… well negative list our Prime Minister (Yousaf Raza Gillani) has already announced by the end of this month it will be announced … I think by March it will be done …," Pakistan High Commission Minister (Trade) Naeem Anwar said at a PHDCCI event on Monday.

Earlier, Pakistan had committed that it will switch over from the restrictive positive list regime to a negative list this month, but a timeline for phasing out the negative list will be announced later.

He said that once all the ministries are on board, then the notification will be issued mentioning the plan for removing the trade barriers. "…once there is consensus it will go to the Cabinet and Central Board of Revenue and Ministry of Commerce … you will see the notification. Notification will give the plan that how will it be phased out…," Anwar said.
On Pakistan granting MFN status, Anwar said that secretaries of both sides have already agreed but major conditions which remains unsolved are removal of non-tariff barriers and implementation of infrastructure projects at Wagah border. "…if everything goes well as per timelines. Hopefully, 2013 will be much better year for trade and commerce," Anwar said.

The bilateral trade in 2010-11 was USD 2.7 billion while unofficial trade has a significant presence and is generally done through a third country like the UAE, Afghanistan and Singapore. The top five items constituting India`s exports to Pakistan are sugar, cotton raw, manmade yarn, madeups, dyes & intermediates. Besides this, he said that in order to liberalise the visa regime, the Home Ministers of India and Pakistan are likely to meet next month to finalise the contours of a new scheme under which businessmen of both countries will be allowed multiple-entry visas.