Minister of Commerce, Anand Sharma, led an 80-member delegation to Pakistan last week, in an attempt to further strengthen Indo-Pak economic ties, reports IBN Live. This comes as a follow-up to the detailed plan that India and Pakistan had agreed on to promote trade back in April 2011. In September, Sharma and Pakistan Commerce Minister, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, announced plans to double trade between the two countries (to $6 billion) by the year 2014. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recently stated that the Indo-Pak trade volume can reach $15 billion by the year 2015, if the obstacles are resolved on time.
Sharma stated that Pakistan has expressed a desire to further strengthen trade ties with India. It has expressed readiness to increase the number of goods that can be imported from India. Pakistan has also expressed its intention to shift its trade policy towards India, which will help more and more Indian goods get access to its market.
‘There is every reason for us to believe that there is an expressed wish and desire on part of Pakistan to move to the (negative list) regime. This will deepens and diversifies trade and enhance economic engagement,’ Sharma stated.
Sharma is all set to lead another delegation of about 150 businessmen and industry representatives to Pakistan, to participate in several trade promotion events, including an ‘India Show’ in Lahore. Likewise, Pakistani traders are soon expected to come to India, to organize a ‘Made in Pakistan’ show.
Sharma will address the 6th South Asian Free Trade Area Ministerial Council meeting at Islamabad, on February 16.