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Normal trade with Pak depends on India getting MFN status:govt

Progress in normalisation of bilateral trade with Pakistan would depend on its decision to grant most favoured nation status to India, the government said in the Lok Sabha today.

Pakistan has “unfortunately” failed to give MFN status to India, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said.

India granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996.

According to the minister, if MFN status is granted to India by Pakistan, it would facilitate direct bilateral trade and lead to “economic gains for both countries”.

Sitharaman, however, said there are no specific talks being held on trade facilitation between the two countries.

At the moment nothing specific is happening, she said.

During the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in May this year, it was stated that the two sides “could move immediately towards full trade normalisation on the basis of the September 2012 road map worked out between the commerce secretaries of both countries,” Sitharaman said.

In January this year, during the meeting of commerce ministries of both sides, they re-affirmed the commitment of the two governments to expeditiously establish normal trading relations and also provide Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to India.

In September 2012, it was agreed that Pakistan would transition fully to MFN (non-discriminatory) status to India by December that year. However, Pakistan did not adhere to the timelines, she added.

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