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Indo-Pak Commerce Secretary talks begin in New Delhi

New Delhi, Mon, 14 Nov 2011 ANI

New Delhi, Nov.14 (ANI): Commerce secretaries of India and Pakistan today led their respective delegations in talks that will focus on arriving at an agreement for opening up trade between the two countries.


Monday's talks are being seen as a part of a warming of ties between both nuclear-armed neighbours.


Indian Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar met his Pakistan counterpart Zafar Mahmood at the start of the two-day talks in New Delhi aimed at implementing a deal to double annual trade in the next three years to six billion dollars.


The visit followed Pakistan's decision on November 2 to grant "Most Favoured Nation" (MFN) status to India, reciprocating a move made by India to Pakistan in 1996.


"We have to fully normalise our relationship and you cannot fully normalise the trade relationship without invoking the MFN principle (and) so we will be working on that," Mahmood told reporters after reaching New Delhi on Saturday.


The status will remove discriminatory higher pricing and duty tariffs that stand as barriers to exports between the South Asian neighbours, analysts say.


Prime Ministers of the two countries-Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani-met last week on the sidelines of the 17th SAARC summit in Addu, Maldives, saying they expected to open a "new chapter" in bilateral talks. (ANI)


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