The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaitley sees only win-win
- Islamabad delegation wary of Congress, considers NDA best bet for better trade ties

New Delhi, March 2: India-Pakistan trade ties, unlike a cricket match between the two countries, can only have winners, commerce minister Arun Jaitley said today.

Trade is a different ballgame from an India-Pakistan cricket match that generates a lot of heat, tension and anxiety because at the end of the day, there will be a winner and a loser, he said.

“Good interaction and trading ties between the two countries will only lead to a win-win situation for both. Here, there will be no loser as in the upcoming sporting event,” the minister said here at a conference on India-Pakistan economic relations, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“The need of the hour is for businessmen to come face to face, with the government acting as a facilitator...” he said, pitching for expanded bilateral trade ties that now officially accounts for business worth only $250 million.

“The need today is to find ways to eliminate roadblocks to trade while improving and enhancing these avenues. Several business delegations have gone back and forth between the two countries. These initiatives will go a long way in bringing about peace.”

According to Jaitley, the result of better trade ties would be beneficial to the industry and the end-consumers on both sides of the border. “It will only leave them with more wider choices than ever existed before.”

Switching to the current international market situation, where each nation is busy coping with the “economic geography” of the world, the minister said India is passing through an important growth-rate regime where “it is in a comfortable situation right now”.

India hopes to achieve 8 per cent growth in the current financial year, Jaitley added.

Both countries, he said, were looking at the world as their own market. “It is to be seen in what way the two countries can supplement each other in products and services that they offer.”

“Low-cost economies like India and Pakistan will benefit” from the production of inexpensive commodities as consumers worldwide went for best-quality goods and services available at the lowest price.

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