How to build trust
- IPL spot-fixing case: Actor Vindoo Dara Singh arrested in Mumbai
- Supreme Court rules out ban on IPL matches, slams BCCI over spot-fixing
- Li Keqiang pitches for more Chinese investments as he backs trade balance
- Narendra Modi holds talks with Advani ahead of BJP's strategy meeting in Delhi
- Aarushi murder case: HC rejects Talwars' plea to examine 14 witnesses
Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan needs to move away from the reliance on bureaucracies
Ishrat Husain and
Kavita N. Ramdas
This week, a delegation consisting of heads of leading Pakistani business houses are visiting India. They are being hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and will meet with ministers and senior officials of the Indian government. At the heart of their conversations is an intriguing and innovative proposal — the formation of a Joint Business Council that can act as a dispute resolution body for Indian and Pakistani businesses engaged in bilateral trade. This marks a genuine departure from the traditional reliance on bureaucracies and is a significant step forward in building mutual trust that has been deficient for quite a long time between the two countries. A week ago, the president of Pakistan ratified a liberalised visa agreement that will allow for more rational business travel between both nations.
India and Pakistan have also recently signed agreements addressing three key issues that have long plagued business in the region: standards and testing, custom clearance and dispute resolution. A few months ago, India removed the restrictions on Indians investing in Pakistan and vice versa. In April, an integrated border check post between Attari and Wagah was inaugurated with modern facilities that will allow many more trucks to cross the border daily. India has reduced the number of items that are prohibited for import from Pakistan by 30 per cent. Pakistan, in turn, abolished a list which severely restricted the number of items that could be imported from India. It has been replaced by a list much more flexible and the government hopes even these constraints will be phased out by December 2012.
We believe these encouraging developments need to be reinforced by other measures that can help strengthen relations between our two countries. Over the last decade, India and Pakistan, the two largest economies of South Asia, have succeeded in more than doubling their per capita income. Both economies have also managed to sustain a growth trajectory. The CII noted in their 2011 report that both nations implemented significant economic reforms that have opened up their economies and brought about rapid growth, more than doubling the size of each economy in the last 10 years. Yet, according to a study conducted by Pradeep Mehta for the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency (PILDAT) earlier this year, intra-regional trade hovers at a paltry 5 per cent of the total trade between all countries of South Asia. By choosing to take the lead in liberalising their import regimes, India and Pakistan could set an example for other countries in South Asia. Unofficial trade between India and Pakistan is estimated at approximately $2 billion per year. This does not include trade via Dubai in which the product's port of origin is often relabelled. Better trade relations between the two countries can directly improve the economic and political environment of the whole South Asian region.
- 'Sophisticated' Indian cyberattacks targeted Pak military sites: Report
- Talkative Li quoted Weber, Hegel, Jobs, said PM is large-hearted
- Bihar food corp ends up with chaff as rice worth Rs 535 cr vanishes from mills
- In 7 lucrative minutes on May 9, Sreesanth bowled 6 balls, bookie made Rs 2.5 cr
- India and China ask border envoys to work on more steps
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held