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BUSINESSMEN OF FAISALABAD FROM PAKISTAN ARRIVE IN INDIA TO STRENGTHEN BILATERAL TRADE

2012-04-08, Mon, 09 Apr 2012 ANI

NATURAL WITH HINDI AND URDU SPEECH

DURATION: 3.00

SOURCE: ANI

TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS: NO ACCESS BBC

Businessmen of Faisalabad from Pakistan arrive in India to strengthen bilateral trade.

To pep up sentiments of the people of both India and Pakistan, a 32-member delegation of Pakistan businessmen, reportedly the first ever from Faisalabad arrives in India through the Wagah border post in northern state of Punjab.

SHOWS:

WAGAH, PUNJAB, INDIA (APRIL 08, 2012) (ORIGINALLY 4: 3) (ANI-NO ACCESS BBC)

1. DELEGATES FROM PAKISTAN STANDING AT THE WAGAH BORDER POST

2. MEMBERS OF THE TRADE DELEGATION FROM PAKISTAN HOLDING A BANNER READING 'FIRST EVER TRADE DELEGATION TO INDIA FROM FAISALABAD'

3. PAKISTANI DELEGATES WALKING

4. DELEGATES STANDING

5. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi/Urdu) FORMER PRESIDENT OF FAISALABAD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, PAKISTAN, ABDUL QAYYUM, SAYING:"Today, we are a delegation of 32 members and have come here from Faisalabad. Our objective is to strengthen the bilateral trade between India and Pakistan, with the help of the talks going on between the governments of both the countries, we have been able to come here to meet the people of India and enhance trade relation with India."

6. BORDER AREA

7. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) FORMER PRESIDENT OF FAISALABAD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, PAKISTAN, ABDUL QAYYUM, SAYING:"The MFN (most favoured nation) status is our political issue and talks are going on this and this issue is linked with all other issues, when we have initiated the trade relations, then the MFN issue will also be solved by the month of July this year. The talks are in progress between India and Pakistan over the issue and I am sure that the officials of both countries would come with a positive result. People of the both the countries want to have good relations and want to ignore small issues, if any and therefore looking forward to strengthen business."

8. MEN HOLDING LUGGAGE OF PAKISTANI DELEGATES

9. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) LEADER OF TRADE DELEGATION FROM FAISALABAD, PAKISTAN, JAMIL AHMED, SAYING:"This is the first ever trade delegation from Faisalabad to India and we hope that it would boost the bilateral trade between India and Pakistan."

10. DELEGATES STANDING

11. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) LEADER OF TRADE DELEGATION FROM FAISALABAD, PAKISTAN, JAMIL AHMED, SAYING:"India granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 and from Pakistan's side, there is some delay in the decision of the MFN status because of certain reasons. Eventually, a positive list was first given and after clearing the list, then a negative list was made and this list would end by the end of this year and by end of July. The most favoured nation status would be given to India by the month of July."

12. PHOTOGRAPH OF FOUNDER OF PAKISTAN MUHAMMAD ALI JINNAH

13. PAKISTANI DELEGATES STANDING

STORY: To pep up sentiments of the people of both India and Pakistan, a 32-member delegation of Pakistan businessmen from Faisalabad arrived in India through the Wagah border post in northern state of Punjab on Sunday (April 08).

The members of this team claimed their visit to be the first ever to India by the forum of traders from Faisalabad region of Pakistan.

This visit is of significance ever since India proposed to grant Pakistan the status of MFN (most favoured nation) status in 1996.

"Today, we are a delegation of 32 members and have come here from Faisalabad. Our objective is to strengthen the bilateral trade between India and Pakistan, with the help of the talks going on between the governments of both the countries, we have been able to come here to meet the people of India and enhance trade relation with India," said Former President of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdul Qayyum.

Relations have warmed since Pakistan promised its neighbour, the MFN (most favoured nation) status vis-?-vis trade ties in 2011, although a $10 million bounty offered by Washington for a Pakistani Islamist blamed for the 2008 attacks on Mumbai stirred old grievances.

Commenting on the MFN status, Abdul Qayyum said talks between the representatives of both countries are in progress and he was hopeful that Pakistan would grant MFN status to India by the month of July this year.

"The MFN (most favoured nation) status is our political issue and talks are going on this and this issue is linked with all other issues, when we have initiated the trade relations, then the MFN issue will also be solved by the month of July this year. The talks are in progress between India and Pakistan over the issue and I am sure that the officials of both countries would come with a positive result. People of the both the countries want to have good relations and want to ignore small issues, if any and therefore looking forward to strengthen business," added Abdul Qayyum.

As for New Delhi extending MFN status to Islamabad, a similar gesture by Pakistan is still awaited in India amid assorted political disputes over the past decade and half.

Pakistan questions the utility of MFN status, given the balance of trade that remains heavily tilted in India's favour, citing 'non-trade barriers' such as quality standards and customs procedure against Pakistani exports.

The trade, limited to 21 items, is small, hampered by the fact that it has to be done through a barter system because the two governments cannot reconcile themselves to accepting the other's currency.

Jamil Ahmed who is heading this delegation from Faisalabad also hoped this visit would further strengthen bilateral relations between the two neighbouring nations.

"This is the first ever trade delegation from Faisalabad to India and we hope that it would boost the bilateral trade between India and Pakistan," said leader of trade delegation from Faisalabad, Jamil Ahmed

A recent analysis commissioned by the World Bank did indicate that Pakistan has potential for greater trade with India, notably in light manufactured products like bicycle components and fans.

On this aspect, Jamil Ahmed said that talks are in progress between New Delhi and Islamabad over reciprocating the MFN status.

"India granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 and from Pakistan's side, there is some delay in the decision of the MFN status because of certain reasons. Eventually, a positive list was first given and after clearing the list, then a negative list was made and this list would end by the end of this year and by end of July. The most favoured nation status would be given to India by the month of July," added Jamil Ahmed

A recent field survey conducted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute estimated total informal trade between Pakistan and India at around $500 million per year.

The imported goods-primarily imports from India via Dubai-are mostly made up of cloth, machinery (for textiles and pharmaceuticals), cosmetics, jewellery and tires.

According to media reports, the Pakistan Government's effort to normalise trade relations with India is being opposed by two ministries such as the key Textiles Ministry that wants trade liberalisation to be put off for five years.

The Textiles Ministry, which has a crucial say in framing strategies to protect domestic manufacturers, has categorically opposed the move, saying it would be in the best interest of the domestic industry if there was 'no liberalisation for five years with India'.

The bulk of Pakistan's trade is with countries outside of South Asia, and currently the majority of Pakistan's exports are concentrated in the textiles and apparels sectors.

Following several rounds of talks between the Commerce Secretaries and Trade ministers of both countries, the two sides approved several steps to dismantle hurdles in the way of increasing official trade to USD six billion by 2014.


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