Pakistan to prune negative list to boost trade: Envoy

Kolkata, Jan 13 (IANS) Pakistan is mulling pruning the list of commodities that are presently barred from being imported from India as well as bringing in a new “favourable” visa policy to boost mutual trade, its envoy said Friday.

“We are planning to shorten the negative list of commodities that are barred from importing from India. All the stakeholders are discussing the issue and soon the list will be finalised. Currently there are hundreds of items on the list but they will be brought down to a nominal figure,” High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik said.
Speaking at an interactive session on India-Pakistan trade here, Malik said a new visa policy will also be in effect by February end.
“The new visa policy has been finalised and needs only to be signed. (It is) likely to come into effect by the end of next month, the new favourable policy will allow Indians to get multiple entry to the country and will be valid for a year,” Malik said.

He, however, accused India of putting up non-tariff barriers (NTB) which was hampering Pakistani export.
“In spite of being granted the most favoured nation by India, our exports have not grown. This is mostly because of the various NTBs. Our businessmen are often denied visas by India which has added to the woes. I hope there are dialogues to identify and redress the various NTBs so that our exports also grow,” Malik said.
On the status of mutual trade, he said: “India’s trade with Pakistan, with whom she shares so many similarities, has not grown much while with other countries with which she doesn’t share much similarities, the trade has been ever increasing. We need to overcome our narrow political mindset and make efforts to boost our trade.”
He also exuded confidence that the ongoing dialogue process between the two countries would yield positive results.
In his address, West Bengal Industries and Commerce Minister Partha Chatterjee described the state as an attractive investment destination and urged Pakistan to invest in the upcoming industrial and information technology hubs in the state.