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Potentials of regional trade

Potentials of regional trade

Pakistan has been maintaining its trade relations with India and Afghanistan despite border tension and poor diplomatic relations for the last many years. Kabul is the great beneficiary of Pakistani products which are available in every market of that country. The trade balance is overwhelmingly in favour of Pakistan and the bilateral trade has the potential to bring the volume to $5 billion a year. There are also vast export potentials to enhance trade with Iran and the Pakistani exporters should avail the opportunity to grow their share in that country as the country is still under the shadows of sanctions imposed by certain nations. According to reports, Pakistan exported $500 million worth of goods to the regional countries, including India and Bangladesh but its imports remained $256 million during the last few months, showing that overall trade balance remained in favour of Pakistan. However, the trade balance remained in India’s favour during the last fiscal year when Pakistan imported goods worth $1.6 billion against exports of less than $500 million.There is still significant trade potential to enhance trade with India. Incidentally, the two economies are pursuing open trade policies with the rest of the world but offer limited concessions to each other.

Trade volume between Pakistan and China was $4 billion in 2006-07 but reached $13.77 billion in 2015-16 while Pakistan’s exports have jumped to $1.69 billion from $575 million during the same period, showing that trade balance remained in favour of China. It is claimed that most of the goods imported from China were related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. However, the other neighbouring countries could not come out of their political differences to boost regional trade. The loss of one country is the loss of the other country but no country could apply this formula in the broader sense

Pakistan and India are two major countries in the SAARC region where trade remained hostage to political implications. A fanatic and hostile government in India is at its best to spoil relations with every neighbouring country, not only with Pakistan, but also with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In this modern world, where business and trade are the best options to resolve political differences, the Indian leadership should come out its policy of defiance and self-deception. It will also be in the best interest of India to establish cordial relations with Pakistan to get access to Afghanistan and beyond