Transit trade rights after next meet

Lahore: Pakistan`s Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim today said any decision on giving India transit trade rights to transport goods to Afghanistan will be made after a meeting of the Commerce Secretaries of India and Pakistan next month. "The Commerce Secretary-level talks are being held in India next month and the issue of granting a Pakistani trade corridor to India for exports to Afghanistan will be discussed in that meeting, and any decision will be taken after that," Fahim said. The minister was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function organised here by the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturing Association.

Under the new Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement, Afghanistan can transport its goods to India via Pakistani territory.However, India is not permitted to send its goods to Afghanistan through Pakistan.Though Fahim said the Commerce Secretaries of the two countries would meet in India next month, Indian officials said the venue of the meeting is yet to be decided. Fahim, who recently visited India for talks with his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma, further said the two countries had agreed to issue multiple-entry visas valid for a year to their businessmen to boost commerce.

Fahim was the first Pakistani Commerce Minister to visit India in over three decades. During the visit, India and Pakistan agreed to double trade to six billion dollars within three years. "India has assured us that it would support our case for duty-free access to EU markets," Fahim told the reporters.