New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) Pakistan Thursday showcased a wide range of products here at a trade fair, signifying its search for a peace dividend with India with greater economic and commercial engagements.
Over 100 top-of-the-line exhibitors unveiled their apparel, home textiles, furniture, leather goods, home accessories, spices, sports goods and marble handicrafts at the Lifestyle Pakistan exhibition at the Pragati Maidan. They are hoping to strike a number of deals.
"We see this exhibition as a milestone that will pave way for further bilateral trade relations between the countries and look forward many such associations in the times to come," Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said, inaugurating the four-day show.
Despite a shared history and culture, two-way trade between India and Pakistan has been a miniscule $3 billion, most of this take place through a circuitous third country route. In September, the two sides pledged to double bilateral trade within three years to about $6 billion.
"The two nations have opened up a new chapter with this exhibition. Many generations have lost the opportunity, we certainly do not wish that out sons and daughters should not benefit from the partnerships," said Sharma.
Accompanied by chief executives of over 100 companies, Sharma was the first trade minister to visit Pakistan in more than three decades. The business delegation visited Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.
The Delhi exhibition, organised by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, follows a three-day India Show in Lahore in February. The show is also taking place just days after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visited India and ahead of a new round of talks between trade ministers of the the two neighbours.
"There is a huge potential between the two countries. If the trade relations improves between India and Pakistan both the countries will have a win-win situation," Tariq Puri, chairman, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) told IANS.
"The exhibitors are very optimistic about the business here and looking at the responses they are getting on the very first day, we feel that it might well be difficult for us to handle the overwhelming crowd," he added.
On the first day exhibitors like Gul Ahmed, AlKaram, Nishat, Chen One, Bonanza, Hub Leather and Orient Textile Mills showcased their products. While designers like Honey Waqar, Faiza Samee, Maria Bilal and Rizwan Beyg unveiled their collections.
"Here you see the contemporary face of Pakistan," said one of the exhibitors.
The exhibitors feel the trade show would further improve the atmospherics for more dialogue and people-to-people contact between the two countries.
Pakistan has announced its decision to grant India the most favoured nation status in November that would pave the way for more direct trade. Both countries are expected to decide on a liberal visa regime for businessmen soon.
Both Sharma and his Pakistani counterpart Amin Fahim will be at the Attari/ Wagah border Friday to open a new trading post.
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