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Key Pak ministries yet to agree on negative list for trade with India

Islamabad, Tue, 28 Feb 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Feb 28 (ANI): The government has promised to complete the negative list for trade with India by the end of this month, but differences between two key ministries concerned on certain points are making it difficult to give a final shape.


The commerce ministry wants only a limited number of items on the negative list and its total elimination in nine months, but the industries ministry proposes that the phasing out of the list should begin three years after its notification and it should be made ineffective in five years, The Dawn reports.


Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood, who is the architect of the policy of trade liberalisation with India, has announced that the cabinet will take a final decision on February 29.


"All the ministers concerned will be there to take a decision on the issue," he said.


On February 14, the prime minister had asked the commerce ministry to hold consultations with all ministries before preparing the list.


The ministry of industries has forwarded to the commerce ministry the reservations of local industries, which have proposed that more products should be added to the list of 636 items.


"We have consulted all stakeholders, but it may not be possible to consider all their proposals," Mahmood said, adding that the consultation process was still under way.


He said that in accordance with the commitment made by Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim to the Indian government during his visit to New Delhi last year the negative list should be eliminated by the end of this year before giving the statues of most-favoured nation to that country.


Nabeel Hashmi, Chairman of the Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories' Manufacturers, said that the commerce ministry had contacted his association six months ago and asked it to hold consultations with the WTO Cell in the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, a subsidiary of the ministry, to finalise recommendations.


However, the WTO cell still did not know what was happening and how the negative list would be eventually prepared, he added. (ANI)


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