Trade Policy at Work

CUTS accueille favorablement le geste du Pakistan

« L’initiative du Pakistan d’accorder le statut de la nation la plus favorisée ä l’Inde est un pas en avant pour augmenter le commerce entre les deux nations. Les fonctionnaires du Commerce dans les deux pays ont fait un travail louable à l’occasion des récentes discussions au niveau des Secrétaires » a dit Pradeep Mehta, Sécrétaire Général de CUTS International.

“Pakistan’s move to provide most-favoured-nation status to India is a welcome step toenhance trade between the two nations. Trade officials of both the contries have done acommendable job at the recently held secretary-level talk,” said Pradeep Mehta, SecretaryGeneral of CUTS International.

Drawing from various examples from other parts of the world, Mehta was speaking about theimportance of trade in generating peace dividends. He took the example of China andVietnam which have hugely expended their trade relations despite other disputes.

“This move by Pakistan (offering MFN status to India) will expand the number of products inthe positive list of commodities that India can export to Pakistan. As a member of the WorldTrade Organisation Pakistan is obliged to provide MFN status to India. It was good on India’spart for not raising this issue at the WTO’s dispute settlement system,” Mehta added.

Following this talk both parties issued a joint statement saying that they would set up twogroups of experts to examine the feasibility, scope and modalities for a new initiative toenable trade in electricity and to initiate and substantially expand trade in all types ofpetroleum products.

CUTS is at the forefront of promoting peace between the neighbouring countries throughtrade and investment. Currently, it is engaged in a work to understand the cost of economicnon-cooperation to consumers in South Asia. It is estimated that South Asian consumers arepaying as much as 50 per cent the price in case of some products on account of high tariffsand other import costs.

Earlier CUTS has advocated for the creation of qualifying industrial zones by India andPakistan through cross-border infrastructure projects and demand for duty-free access forproducts orginating from such zones in the US and European markets.

Reacting to these recent developments, Robert Blake, the US Assistant Secretary of State forSouth and Central Asia said: “We (the US) have always said that there are significantopportunities to expand trade between India and Pakistan that would benefit both countries.”

Contrary to popular belief, enhanced trade between India and its neighbours will create moreand more trade and investment opportunities for all countries leading to an increase inproducer as well as consumer welfare. This is evident from the impact of India-Sri Lanka freetrade agreement, which now includes trade in services and investment.