'Pak may grant MFN status to India later this month'
Pakistan's Commerce Minister and Secretary will visit India to attend the 3-day Annual Partnership Summit in Agra.
New Delhi: India expects Pakistan to announce elimination of negative list of items later this month that will pave the way for full normalisation of bilateral trade and accordance of MFN status to New Delhi. Pakistan has missed the deadline of December 31, 2012, for phasing out the negative list regime.
A government official said that Pakistan's Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Secretary Munir Qureshi are coming to India to participate in the three-day Annual Partnership Summit in Agra. Ministers and officials from several countries are expected to attend the summit that begins on January 27.
"Trade ministers (of India and Pakistan) are expected to meet before that. I think it (announcement of doing away with the negative list and accordance of MFN status to India) will happen prior to that (summit)," the official added.
Pakistan in March, 2012 had moved to a negative list regime for trade opening its market for about 7,000 Indian goods against about 2,000 under the positive list. Under the negative list regime, India cannot export 1,209 items to Pakistan.
Elimination of negative list would technically mean automatic grant of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had expressed the hope in December last year that Pakistan would honour its assurance of granting MFN status to India. He had even spoken to Fahim on telephone on the issue.
The bilateral trade between the countries stood at about USD 2 billion in 2011-12.