Indo- Pak traders urges for country specific visa to enhance trade

Amritsar, Dec.7,: To encourage trade between India and Pakistan, traders from the two countries suggested that instead of granting city specific visas the High Commissions of both countries should grant country specific visas for the movement of businessmen.

Traders were suggested this during the 7th edition of Punjab International Trade Expo (PITEX-2013) here on Saturday.

The Executive member of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khurshid Balra, while talking to ANI, also suggested that exchange of primary level students of India and Pakistan will do wonders.

Khurishid is part of Pakistan’s delegation that is in the city to participate in PITEX-2013. Traders of both sides expressed the need to reduce the trust- deficit between people of India and Pakistan.

However city specific visa still haunts business community. Khurshid said: “Suppose I want to visit the factory of an industrialist in India, and I don’t have visa for that particular city, I will not mature that deal”, adding that businessmen should be given a free hand to promote trade between two countries.

Another participant in the PITEX , Shahzad Khan said he had came here with 20 members seven years back but now more than 200 participants had joined the trade team.

He said similar response would be there when Indian traders take part in a trade fair at Lahore. While echoing with other traders that the visa regime should be eased, he said that a lot is yet to be done to bring people of both countries closer.

General Secretary, Shawl Club India, Pyara Lal Seth said, “I am happy to see the growth of the project which they have initiated seven years back”. He said trade is the key to established peace in the region.

Leader of the Gujranwala delegation Sheikh Rauf said: “People to people contacts between India and Pakistan should be encouraged at all levels, and visa restrictions should be relaxed to ease the movement of the trading community.”

The delegation included representation from textiles, fabrics, gems and jewellery, commercial banking, services sector, among others. Many important issues including the need for a better mobile connectivity to improve communication for business and trade, opening up of banks in each other’s countries, availability of information about standards/certification requirements and formalities for opening offices and trading houses in India were discussed.

Pakistan’s major exports to India included vegetables, fruits and nuts, cotton, mineral fuels, salt, lime and cement. It was learnt that Pakistan would be keen to import dairy products, tea, dyeing extracts, chemical and rubber products from India. (ANI)

By Ravinder Singh Robin