Pakistan aims to increase its exports to India to $1 billion within a year as it believes the country’s textile goods – made-up textiles products and readymade garments – have a great potential to make their way to Indian market.
In a meeting with Pakistan-India Business Council in Islamabad, Pakistan’s Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan said that being the next-door neighbor, which links the two countries through land route, Pakistan is the most favorite and cost-effective market for India in terms of importing raw material for their agriculture and textile products.
Analysts and economists in both countries have often argued for the need to boost trading ties between the two countries which together host more than 1.3 billion people and offer a huge consumer market.
But mutual mistrust and political tensions has prevented the two countries to have any meaningful business relations. The two-way official trade around $3 billion with Indian exports to Pakistan accounting for nearly 90 percent of the total volume. Trade through a third country and through illegal means is around $1 billion.
Both countries accuse each other for not offering enough incentives to facilitate trade.
Mr. Khan was of the view that trade concessions to India cannot be offered unilaterally and could only be done on the basis of reciprocity.
The delegation of the PIBC which recently visited India told the minister about the areas where Pakistan can boost its exports. According to the members, Indian food manufacturers were looking for Pakistani agriculture products such as Mango and Kinno in specific seasons. Green peas can be exported to India as the country run freezing plants at far less their capacity.
They were of the view that cooperation in areas such as SME, Agriculture, Tourism & Culture, Research sectors, Basmati Rice branding issue and exchange of business groups visits could boost the two-way trade significantly.
India granted Most Favored Nation status to Pakistan in 1997 but still awaiting a similar response from Pakistan.
Pakistan says that despite granting MFN status, India has several trade and non-trade barriers which restricts Pakistani traders to tap the Indian market.