New Delhi, Feb. 3: Industry associations and businessmen in Pakistan are planning to host four summits this year to woo Indian entrepreneurs despite growing tensions across the border.
“We want to improve trade ties and are hopeful that India will be granted most favoured nation (MFN) status (by Pakistan) soon. This delay will be short-lived. It is very important for us that trade ties improve as both countries will benefit from it. Trade does not happen in isolation and both sides need to realise this and take confidence building measures,” said Amin Hashwani, director of Hashwani group of companies.
“We are planning to host an Indo-Pak strategic summit in Karachi in the coming months. Former federal minister of finance Shaukat Tarin will be part of the event. We will also host a marketing summit as well as an entrepreneurship summit. In September, we have plans to organise an Indo-Pak summit in New Delhi as well,” said Muhammed Azfar Ahsan, chief executive officer of Nutshell Forum, the organiser for these events in Pakistan.
India and Pakistan trade goods worth $2 billion annually. India routes another $2-3 billion worth of goods to Pakistan through Dubai and Singapore as the neighbouring country does not allow direct export of several Indian merchandise.
Pakistan is yet to grant India the most favoured nation status, despite India granting it in 1996.
Pakistan’s exports to India between April and December 2012 grew 66 per cent to $460 million over the same period in 2011, while Indian exports to Pakistan grew 16 per cent during the period.
Three Pakistani business delegates who attended the CII organised global partnership summit in Agra recently emphasised the business community’s desire to improve trade relations with India.
However, most of the Pakistani delegates cancelled their visit along with trade minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim amid soaring tensions between the two countries over ceasefire violations across the border.
Hashwani said the business community in Pakistan was keen on resolving the current problems so that trade talks between the two countries picked up.
For Pakistan, good trade ties with India will ensure a steady supply of high quality raw materials, technology and research and development that will help in the expansion of business.
Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma recently said there was no alternative to strengthening ties between the two countries to build an atmosphere of trust and confidence.
“This is the only way for enduring peace and stability. For that the only way is the economic partnership and engagement between the businesses and governments of the two nations,” he remarked during the global summit.