Pakistan's import list from India may triple soon

While neighbouring Pakistan is still to concede to India’s demand for grant of the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status, it is likely to substantially increase the list of import items to be traded from India via Attari-Wagah border in Punjab.

Pakistan permits India to export only 137 commodities. Requesting anonymity, senior officials in the customs department told Deccan Herald Tuesday that Pakistan may increase its list of import items up to 500 this week.

A meeting between the commerce secretaries of both countries is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on January 16. The agenda pertaining to expanding the list of import items from India will be deliberated upon on Thursday, sources said. 

While Pakistan has a restricted list of items to be imported through the route, there is no restriction on traders from Pakistan to export goods to India.

Goods between the two countries are traded through the Integrated Check Post (ICP) on Attari-Wagah border in Punjab. 

In case Pakistan expands its commodity import list, bilateral trade will see a sizable increase much to the delight of Indian traders who have been demanding that Pakistan opens up its policy on import of goods via this link.  

Trade viability

Sources said while Pakistan permits export of 137 items, export trade flow from India is limited to 35 items. This is purely on the rationale of trade viability. 

Indian traders in Amritsar and other part of the country mainly focus on export items such as fresh vegetables, plastic granules, soybean and onions. On the other side, Pakistani traders prefer to export gypsum, dry fruit and cement to India via the road and rail link, sources said.

Senior officials in the ICP said they are hopeful that the agenda will materialise during the meeting, and traders on both sides of the border will gain. 

After the setting up of the ICP on Attari border, not only have the logistics of trade improved, the quantum of trade between the two countries too has increased. 

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