Pakistan likely to increase import item list

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

Pakistan, so far, permits India to export only 137 commodities. Requesting anonymity, senior officials in the Customs department talking to Deccan Herald said Pakistan could increase its list of import items up to 500 this week.

A meeting between the commerce secretaries of both the nations 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 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 nations are traded through the Integrated Check post (ICP) on the Attari-Wagha border in Punjab. In case Pakistan expands its commodity import list, bilateral trade will witness 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.  

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

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

Senior officials in the ICP said they are hopeful that the agenda would materialise during the meeting and traders on both sides of the border will gain. After the setting up of the ICP on the Attari border, not only have the logistics of trade improved, the quantum of trade, too, has increased. 

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