ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce is holding consultations with stakeholders both from public and private sectors for elimination of negative list negative list for trade with India.
As WTO members, both Pakistan and India are required to give each other the ‘most favoured nation status’. India has given MFN status to Pakistan, while Islamabad, taking advantage of a special clause of the WTO legal framework, has not reciprocated. Till March 2012, the source said that Pakistan used to issue a list of items importable from India, but this policy was substituted by a negative list of non-importable items.
“The MoC will submit the case to the Cabinet for elimination of Negative List after completion of the said consultation process,” a well-placed source privy to Minister for Commerce told this scribe here on Wednesday. The MoC had placed told 1209 commodity-wise items in the negative list for trade with India.
“These include 16 items related to agriculture sector, 12 to aluminium sector, 385 to auto sector, 28 items related to ceramics, 33 chemical sector, three electrical appliances sector, 54 electrical machinery related sector, seven footwear related items, 16 furniture, 22 glass, three gems and jewellery, 19 leather related items, 37 machinery, and five metal products,” the source observed.
The source named some more categories of sectors whom related items had been placed on negative list for trade with India which included six items related to meters, 22 articles miscellaneous manufactured, two optical fibre, 82 paper and board, 48 pharmaceutical, 83 plastic, five Prefabricated Buildings, 18 Rubber, seven soap & toiletries, 32 sports, 137 steel, five stone & marble, ten surgical, 74 textile and four items related to wood sector.
The source said that over the last five years, Pakistan’s import from India constituted 3.4-4.3 % of its total imports and value of the imports increased from $1.08bn in 2009 to $1.87bn in 2013. “On the other hand, Pakistan’s exports to India are much lower than its imports and according to statistics Pakistan’s imports are over five times higher than its exports despite the restricted import regime for India” the source added.
“India exports 26 of them to the international market, 15 out of these 26 items are of the automobile sector, which is a highly protected sector in Pakistan. As for the rest of the 24 items, India either imports more or exports nothing,” the source observed, adding that all items in the negative list could be imported from India under the Duty and Tax Remission for Exports (DTRE) scheme.