Islamabad: Pakistan cannot offer trade concessions to India unilaterally and the latter needs to adopt a reciprocal approach, said Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir while chairing a meeting with Pakistani members of the Pak-India Business Council.
The delegation, led by Yawar Ali Shah, briefed the minister on their recent visit to India and the outcome of meetings held with Indian business and trade stakeholders.
“Trade concessions cannot be offered to India unilaterally. India also needs to provide access to Pakistani products with a preferential duty regime,” said Dastgir.
Pakistan is making all-out efforts to increase exports to India to $1 billion within a year as textile products and readymade garments have a great potential in the neighbour’s market.
“Due to proximity, Pakistan is the most favourite and cost-effective market for India in terms of raw material import for their agriculture and textile products,” said the minster. He told the delegation that the commerce ministry had restructured the National Tariff Commission (NTC) in line with the legal framework set under the guidance of the Supreme Court.
The delegation informed the minister that Indian food manufacturers were looking for different Pakistani agricultural products like mangoes and kinnows in specific seasons.
“Other agricultural products like green peas could also be exported to India as they run cold storages at a far less capacity of 200,000 tons,” they said.
The businessmen were of the view that both countries should cooperate in the promotion of small and medium enterprises, agriculture, tourism and culture, research, branding of Basmati rice and visits of business groups.
Gems and jewellery
Later, a delegation of the Pakistan Commercial Exporters Association also called on the minister to discuss how to give a boost to gems and jewellery exports.
Assuring full cooperation to the association, the minister said keeping in view the potential of exports from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the government had decided to allocate a substantial budget in the next fiscal year for establishing a multibillion-rupee expo centre in Peshawar.
“To promote gem products, we will include gems exhibitions in the calendar of events of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan,” he added.