Our government, during 2002-2008, believed in regional trade and always wanted to expand it for immediate progress of Pakistani’s economy. Recently, India has been declared to be the “Most Favoured Nation”.
The term, “Most Favoured Nation” is deceptive. It doesn’t mean a country is granting huge concessions to another rather it clarifies the two to not discriminate each other according to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Unfortunately, Pakistan has always discriminated India. Pakistan has trade with many countries ignoring all issues, while with India we can only trade a limited number of 2000 items.
The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)’s of the European union is also a serious issue. They remain for 2, 3 years and leave behind a hefty amount of profit. The total benefit to Pakistan from that can sum up to Rs. 250 billion which is very important for the country.
I am in favour of creating and promoting trade and business with India. The MFN status is not a new strategy to increase the economy. It has been given to India since 1995. But the trade balance of Rs. 8 billion dollars is in favour of India.
The agreement between the two countries should have been bilateral. Pakistan would open some of its areas for India to import its items and products. In that case, the rate on duties must be decreased. If we are actually willing to grant India the MFN status, then we must remove the non-tariff barriers that are the biggest hindrance in Pakistan’s trade with the country.
Sooner or later, Pakistan will begin its trade with India. Before the partition, 95% of the trade was present in the sub-continent. Now it has cut down to 5 %. The only issue is in this deal is that Pakistan should avail benefits as well. There can be an increase of $ 2, 3 billion dollars in Pakistan’s economy just because of this trade.