India to become Pakistan’s second largest trading partner


Islamabad : India could emerge as Pakistan’s second largest trading partner after China owing to measures announced by the government to boost bilateral trade, including the import of diesel and fuel oil from India.

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While announcing the trade policy (2008-09) on Friday, Pakistan has allowed import of diesel and CNG buses from India, besides adding 136 commodities to the positive list of items that can be sourced from the neighbouring country.

According to the Dawn newspaper, the measures announced by the Pakistan government have created the potential for increasing the value of imports from India from the current level of USD 1 billion to more than USD 3 billion, which could make India the second largest trading partner of Pakistan after China.

Unveiling the trade policy for 2008-09, Commerce Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said the move to expand trade with India would allow Pakistan to access cheaper raw materials and reduce transport costs on imports from far-off countries.

With the inclusion of 136 new items, the total list of tradeable products with India was increased from 1,837 tariff lines to 1,938. The value of global imports of these 136 items was 2.8 billion dollars, of which 2.2 billion dollars was spent only on import of diesel and fuel oil.

Of the 136 new items, 72 tariff lines were added to the importable list for raw materials, chemicals and industrial inputs, 9 for pharmaceutical products, 2 for fruits and vegetables, 19 for fertilisers, 32 for machinery and parts and 2 for fuel oil and diesel.

After the new trade policy was approved by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Commerce Minister Mukhtar said, “Cheaper raw material sourced from India would make our exports more competitive in the international market.”