India, Pakistan to explore trade potential


New Delhi : Private sector firms from India and Pakistan are set to create a joint study group to explore the trade potential between the two countries.

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Four members from the private sector will be identified from each country to be part of the joint study group, which would not only make recommendations for enhancing the combined trade but also augment business, according to a statement by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).

The two countries have identified sectors such as textile, jewellery, food products, engineering goods and cement as potential areas where exports can be enhanced from both sides.

“There are still glitches relating to the 100 percent scanning of trucks that carry the materials, which result in idling of the vehicles for a long time at the Wagah border,” Tariq Ikram, chief executive, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, said in the statement.

“Similarly, resolution of issues like business visa, delays in issuance of visas etc., are issues part of a holistic package, where political considerations will play a crucial role,” Ikram added.

Trade between India and Pakistan stood at $1.6 billion in 2006-07.

According to Zafar Mahmood, secretary with Pakistan’s ministry of textile industry, the two countries can cooperate in the ginning segment, as the quality of the ginning machinery manufacturing in Pakistan is very low as compared to India.

He suggested that a delegation of ginning machinery manufacturers from India could visit Pakistan at the earliest to explore the market and hold parleys with their counterparts.