New Delhi, Jan.18: Commerce Ministers of India and Pakistan on Saturday agreed to provide Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) on reciprocal basis to each other.
In a joint statement issued here after talks, Commerce Ministers Anand Sharma and Khurram Dastgir Khan said on the sidelines of the fifth SAARC Business Leaders Conclave that both countries have reaffirmed the commitment to expeditiously establish normal trading relations, and in this context, to provide Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) on a reciprocal basis.
The ministerial meeting was preceded by consultations between the commerce secretaries of the two countries on matters related to economic and trade relations between Pakistan and India.
Both ministers thereafter decided to intensify and accelerate the process of trade normalization, liberalization and facilitation and to implement the agreed measures before the end of February 2014.
Both Sharma and Khan also expressed satisfaction over arrangements implemented by both sides to keep the Wagah – Attari Land Customs Station operational on all seven days of each week.
Both emphasized the importance of trade facilitation measures and directed their respective ministries to work out modalities for containerization of cargo, allowing all tradeable items by land route at Wagah, liberalization of business visa regime and enhancing operational hours at Wagha / Attari, and to consider such other measures as deemed necessary by the business communities of the two countries.
The ministers also agreed that both sides will convene the meetings of the technical working groups of customs, railways, banking, standards organizations and energy to devise the modalities for effective implementation of all requisite measures.
The ministers noted with satisfaction that there has been enhanced interaction between the business communities of both countries. Several trade delegations have been received on either side. A Joint Business Forum of Chief Executive Officers in different sectors have also met twice after the formation of the present Pakistan Government.
They also said that several sub-groups have been formed by this Joint Business Forum to enhance trade cooperation in diverse sector such as textiles, tourism, energy, light engineering, pharmaceuticals and others.
They noted that the third meeting of this Joint Business Forum is scheduled in Pakistan for mid-February, 2014.
With the objective of enhancing bilateral trade opportunities, FICCI and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan are also coordinating an “India Show” in Lahore in mid-February, 2014.
This will build upon the success that was achieved on the business front through the similar India Show in Lahore in February, 2012.
It is envisaged that as part of the India Show activities, artists on both sides of the border will jointly create paintings to express the common heritage of the people of both countries.
With the objective of promoting greater people to people contact, both sides have also agreed to organize a joint Vintage Car Rally between Amritsar and Lahore, to coincide with the coming ‘India Show’.
Sharma accepted the invitation extended by Khan to visit Pakistan in February 2014. (ANI)