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Anand Sharma keen to improve bilateral trade with Pakistan

Islamabad, Thu, 16 Feb 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Feb 16 (ANI): The visiting Indian Commerce Minister, Anand Sharma, has stressed on the immediate need to bridge the gap in trade ties between India and Pakistan for mutual growth and prosperity.


Sharma, who is leading an over 120 people-strong business delegation, said: "Ours has been a case of missed opportunities, we have tried to turn the page and we are determined to write a new chapter. It is our considered and shared view, this is the time, economic engagement will bring positivity, prosperity and stability in the region. It is not a question of having this is an option, this is the option."


Sharma further said that all possible steps would be taken by both countries to remove hurdles to the growth of trade and commerce.


"Each one of them has its significance from customs cooperation to grievance redressal to mutual recognition agreements these have been initiated and once implemented, it will facilitate free flow of the trade," said Sharma.


"We have also looked at the multiple entry, long term visas for the movement of people. There are special dispensations put in place for the business leaders to travel," he added.


Earlier in the day, Anand Sharma met Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani here. The meeting was followed by the signing of important documents by Sharma and his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Amin Fahim to boost bilateral trade for mutual growth and prosperity of both countries.


Meanwhile, Makhdoom Amin Fahim said that the trade agreements shall be completed in a time bound manner.


"The two sides are negotiating, and they are trying to work it out, and we hope that they will be completed in due time, it will not take very long," said Fahim.


Pakistan is expected to grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India by this year-end, as it is likely to phase out the negative list by then. (ANI)


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