Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal here on Thursday said that India and Pakistan should first focus on normalising their bilateral trade ties for implementing WTO business plan and then entering the regime of preferential trade with each other.
`Our focus should be to normalise our trade ties first.
After compliance with WTO plan, we can move for preferential trade,` the Indian diplomat said during a meeting with members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) at the Chamber`s Secretariat.
Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal said that India and Pakistan`s bilateral ties were improving as both the counties were seriously pursuing their plan to boost the trade.
He said that since 2009, both the countries had moved to negative list from the positive list which had blocked a large number of goods to be traded between the two countries. `This shift has created a big space and now the negative list has a little number of restricted goods. By the end of December next more goods would be off-loaded from this negative list to increase the bilateral trade,` he added.
He said that before the end of 2013 Indian tariff line would be 100 while Pakistan would do this, up to the end of 2017. India and Pakistan have combined economy of about $2 trillion. If duly exploited, it would guarantee prosperity and development of both the nations, he said.
He said that it is the era of globalisation. If we look at European Union, there is a great volume of trade being done among the member states. Whereas Saarc regional trade is very low against its big potential which demands due attention, he said.
He mentioned that many economic opportunities having a big potential were emerging in the Saarc region and its member countries must benefit from these. India and Pakistan are two big economies of Saarc region with around $2 trillion.
The Indian envoy mentioned the three agreements recently signed by both the countries. These were about the Quality, the Customs and on the Trade Disputes Resolution. He hoped that with true implementation of these agreements, mutual trade and investment would significantly increase.
About opening bank branches, he said the matter was in working process.