MFN status to India should not be a problem once talks resume: Pak envoyMr. Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, said that the Most Favored Nation (MFN) status would be granted to India once bilateral talks resume between the two countries. However, commenting on the balance of trade being in India’s favor, he stressed on the need to have more inter-dependency in trade. Even as the two countries are a part of a trade agreement under SAFTA, Pakistan continues to maintain a negative list of items that cannot be imported from India. Furthermore, road based trade through the Wagah border continues to be restricted. Granting of the MFN status is expected to further liberalize trade between the two countries.
March 17, 2015
MFN status to India should not be a problem once talks resume: Pak envoy, Business Standard, 17 March 2015
India, Pakistan come close as normal trade partners: RaghavanDr. T.C.A. Raghavan, India’s high commissioner to Pakistan said that the two countries had come closer to being normal trade partners since 2012. At a meeting of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce, he stressed on the need for join initiatives to address issues of market access and trade barriers. According to him, trade infrastructure needs improvement and non tariff barriers need to be urgently addressed. He also assured the Pakistani business community that the Indian High Commission was making attempts to expedite the visa process.
March 13, 2015
India, Pakistan come close as normal trade partners: Raghavan, Daily Times, 13 March 2015
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to visit Pakistan on March 3India’s Foreign Secretary, S. Jaishankar, will visit Pakistan on March 3 as a part of the ‘SAARC Yatra’. He lis likely to meet his counterpart in Pakistan, as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs. The formal announcement for the visit is set to happen later this week. The process of resuming talks started with the Indian Prime Minister’s talk with his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the SAARC summit held in November 2014.
February 25, 2015
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to visit Pakistan on March 3, The Indian Express, 25 February 2015
India, Pakistan can become growth opportunity for each other: RaghavanT.C.A Raghavan, High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, while addressing the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), expressed that the two countries could become growth opportunities for each other. He emphasized on the beneficial role of trade fairs and exhibition in strengthening trade ties. He further suggested that cooperation in various sectors, particularly tourism, needs to be enhanced. Echoing his thoughts, Mr. Ijaz Mumtaz, President of the LCCI, said that trade should be recognized as a tool to promote peace and prosperity in the region. Innovation in reaching business deals and bridging the gap between private traders across the border need to be urgently focused upon.
February 21, 2015
India, Pakistan can become growth opportunity for each other: Raghavan, The Nation, 21 February 2015
India’s Top Diplomat to Visit PakistanIndia’s foreign secretary, S. Jaishankar, is set to visit Pakistan in his tour of the SAARC nations. This comes after a hiatus of six months; in August 2014, foreign secretary level talks between the two countries were stalled following a political discord between them. The main agenda for the tour will be to discuss the new initiatives for the SAARC group of countries. According to Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India, the meeting will also be utilized to discuss bilateral issues.
February 13, 2015
India’s Top Diplomat to Visit Pakistan, The Wall Street Journal, 13 February 2015
Trucks cross Kashmir as India, Pakistan resume tradeIndia and Pakistan have agreed to resume barter trade through the disputed Kashmir area. Trade was halted when a truck driver from Pakistan was arrested for drug trafficking. Following negotiations between authorities from the two sides, Indian officials allowed all trucks to cross the border barring the one which was found to contain drugs.
February 11, 2015
Trucks cross Kashmir as India, Pakistan resume trade, Press TV, 11 February 2015
India, Pakistan suspend trade on Kashmir LOCTrade between India and Pakistan through the de-facto border in the disputed territory of Kashmir came to a halt as Indian authorities detained a Pakistani truck driver for drug trafficking. According to the authorities, 12 kilograms of opium was seized from a truck carrying oranges. Following the incident, 50 Indian trucks were held up on the Pakistani side because traffic crosses the border simultaneously.
February 9, 2015
India, Pakistan suspend trade on Kashmir LOC, Pakistan Observer, 9 February 2015
Non-discriminatory access: Pakistan, India inch toward trade liberalisationKhurram Dastgir Khan, Minister of Commerce, Government of Pakistan indicated that India and Pakistan are getting closer to striking a deal to liberalize trade between them. Mr. Dastgir suggested that Pakistan may grant “Non-discriminatory market access” (NDMA) to India, a move which he said would protect the interests of Pakistani businessmen. He further added that their main purpose was to protect their agriculture business.
February 7, 2015
Non-discriminatory access: Pakistan, India inch toward trade liberalisation, The Express Tribune, 7 February 2015
Indian, Pak traders call for business park at ICPAt a joint meeting held in Amritsar between various chambers of commerce from India and Pakistan, businessmen from both countries demanded that a common ‘Business Park’ be established at the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at the Wagah border where traders from the two countries could interact, showcase their products and potentially strike trade deals. Other issues discussed to facilitate bilateral trade were connectivity issues, especially through the Attari rail route.
December 8, 2014
Indian, Pak traders call for business park at ICP, Hindustan Times, 8 December 2014
India restricts visa access for Pak tradersEjaz A Mumtaz, the President of Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that several important meetings between businessmen from India and Pakistan that were scheduled to be held in New Delhi were cancelled as the Indian High Commission tightened the visa regime, restricting the visa only to Amritsar. Although some businessmen from Pakistan visited Amritsar in individual capacity, a high-powered delegation was unable to visit New Delhi. Echoing this, the Pak-India Chamber of Commerce Chairman SM Muneer admitted that there had been set backs in the trade normalization process. He stressed on the need for better land connectivity and resolution of logistical issues.
December 7, 2014
India restricts visa access for Pak traders, The Nation, 7 December 2014
Normal trade with Pakistan depends on India getting MFN status: GovtMinister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman, said that the progress in trade normalization between India and Pakistan would depend on the latter granting MFN status to India. Stressing on the importance of the MFN status, the minister said that the move would lead to economic gains for both the countries. She further added that Pakistan had not adhered to the timeline proposed for trade normalization as per the roadmap designed during the commerce secretary level talks in September 2012.
December 5, 2014
Normal trade with Pakistan depends on India getting MFN status: Govt, ABP Live, 5 December 2014 (http://www.abplive.in/business/2014/12/05/article449807.ece/Normal-trade-with-Pakistan-depends-on-India-getting-MFN-status-Govt)
Normal trade with Pak depends on MFN: India, The Nation, 6 December 2014
Pak, India should promote trade: Iftikhar MalikThe Vice President of SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Pakistan Chapter), Iftikhar Ali Malik stressed upon the importance of promoting peace between India and Pakistan through the promotion of trade. He further said that people of both nations had suffered because of the suboptimal utilization of resources indigenous to them. According to him, the formal trade between the two countries can be increased tenfold through bilateral legalized procedures instead of the informal channels that are frequently used to carry out trade. He also said that a vast scope of close coordination existed in agriculture, health, education and engineering. In this context, according to Mr. Malik, a bilateral investment treaty should be finalized between India and Pakistan to ensure free flow of investment between them. Finally, he stressed on the urgent need for people to people, businessmen to businessmen and parliamentarian to parliamentarian contact to help strengthen the economic and political relations between the neighbors.
December 1, 2014
Pak, India should promote trade: Iftikhar Malik, Daily Times,1 December 2014
Pakistan imports items worth Rs 1.2B from India through Wagha in one weekIn the week of November 22-28, Pakistan imported items from India worth Rs 1.20 billion. The items of import were tomatoes, garlic, polyethylene, cotton and machinery. Carbon die oxide was also a major item of import. The total duty tax collected by Pakistan stood at Rs 35.7 million, the sales tax at Rs 27.3 million and the income tax at Rs 60 million.
November 30, 2014
Pakistan imports items worth Rs 1.2B from India through Wagha in one week, Customs Today, 30 November 2014
Trade worth Rs 813 crore generated along India-Pakistan LoC in FY14: GovernmentThe trade through the Line of Control between India and Pakistan through the Trade Facilitation Centre was Rs 813 crore in terms of value in 2014. The Commerce and Industry minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, indicated that no instances of adulteration that adversely affected trade were noted by the government.
November 28, 2014
Trade worth Rs 813 crore generated along India-Pakistan LoC in FY14: Government, The Economic Times, 28 November 2014
Pakistan Exports at 409M to IndiaDuring the first two weeks of November, Pakistan’s exports to India showed a slight decline. According to the official documents, the figure for Pakistani exports to India stands at 409 million rupees via the Wagha Border. Among the products exported were dried fruits, salt, cement, gypsum, plant seeds etc.
November 18, 2014
Pakistan Exports at 409M to India, Customs Today, 18 November 2014
Pakistani merchants do brisk business at India trade fairNearly 115 businessmen from Pakistan are attending the 34th India International Trade Fair (IITF) in Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. These Pakistani traders are showcasing clothing, spices, handicrafts and food items from Pakistan. Mr. Abdul Basit, the High Commissioner of Pakistan to India, said that border hostilities have not had an effect on the popularity of Pakistani products in India. However, Sheikh Humayun Sayeed, the former chief of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry expressed his disappointment over the customs and visa hurdles that the Pakistani traders had to face. The traders were enthusiastic about the demand for their products and hopeful of healthy buying by the Indian public.
November 17, 2014
Pakistani merchants do brisk business at India trade fair, Gulf Times (Online Edition), 17 November 2014
Pak-India trade at Wagah moves at snail’s paceTrade between India and Pakistan through the Attari road route continued to move at a very slow pace due to the lengthy checking procedures carried out by authorities. The number of consignments crossing the border have declined to 10 to 15 from 150-200. With limited unloading on the Pakistan side, hundreds of trucks carrying vegetables have lined up at the Attari border. The president of All Pakistan Vegetable and Fruit Market Dealers’ Association expressed concern over the potential rate hike for vegetables in Pakistan as supply from the Indian side continues to fall short of the demand.
November 17, 2014
Pak-India trade at Wagah moves at snail’s pace, The Nation, 17 November 2014
Wagah trade resumes partially after 3-day suspensionTrade between India and Pakistan, which had come to a halt post the blast near the Wagah border, has resumed partially. It was decided that the two way trade will be stopped between 3pm to 6pm when the flag lowering ceremony is held at the border. Aftab Vohra, chairman of the LCCI Standing Committee on India-Pakistan Trade stressed that trade and economic issues should be dealt with separately. Even now, much of the trade is still restricted as the Pakistani Rangers stopped several trucks from India from entering Pakistan due to security concerns.
November 6, 2014
Wagah trade resumes partially after 3-day suspension, The Nation, 6 November 2014
Land trade between India, Pakistan halted after Wagah blastFollowing the suicide bomb attack at Wagah in Pakistan on 2.11.2014, land trade between the two countries has come to a halt. The custom officials at the border confirmed that trade had been halted as a consequence of this act of terror and it is likely that it will remain suspended for a few days to come. The blast took place only 500 meters away from the international border and killed 20 people and injured several others.
November 3, 2014
Land trade between India, Pakistan halted after Wagah blast: Times of India, 3 November 2014
Losing trade: Skirmishes leave textile sector apprehensiveDr. Ishrat Hussain, the director of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) admitted that he is less optimistic about India-Pakistan trade amidst continuing border tensions. His views were shared by several Pakistani textile tycoons. They pointed out the increased difficulty for businessmen from Pakistan in getting visas to travel to India. Last year, the value of bilateral trade between the two countries was $2.5 billion and according to some independent observers, this figure can jump to $6 billion in the next few years if the process of trade normalization is not halted. Currently, most of the trade between the two countries takes place via Dubai and its value is estimated to be around $4 billion.
November 3, 2014
Losing trade: Skirmishes leave textile sector apprehensive, The Express Tribune, 3 November 2014
India seeks transit facility for wheat export to AfghanistanThe flour milling industry in Pakistan has been agitating as India seeks permission to export wheat to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s land route. The industry is exerting pressure on the government to pre-empt allowing India to do so. According to Pakistani traders, granting India transit poses two problems for them. Firstly, they fear that Indian wheat would be more competitive than Pakistani wheat in Afghanistan and thus, they would lose their traditional market. They fear that previous payments from Afghanistan would get stuck as flour to this market is supplied on credit. Secondly, the possible grant of transit facilities have led to a revival of old fears of farmers. Indian wheat carries Karnal Brunt, a disease, which they fear would spread to Pakistani wheat as well, thus destroying its wheat base.
October 27, 2014
India seeks transit facility for wheat export to Afghanistan: Dawn, Economic & Business, 27 October 2014
Will continue to trade with India despite border tensions: PakistanThe Commerce Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Khurram Dastagir said that Pakistan must trade with its neighbors, especially India even despite the tension on the border. While attending a consultative trade meeting in Islamabad, he said that the government of Pakistan is committed to increase regional trade and promote peace between the two countries. He further indicated that Pakistan would have to import electricity from India to resolve its power crisis. The Pakistani Minister for Privitization, Mr. Mohammed Zubair, echoed his views and highlighted the need for Pakistan to trade for India for the betterment of its own people.
October 26, 2014
Will continue to trade with India despite border tensions: Pakistan, The Economics Times, 26 October 2014
Pakistan imports items worth Rs 993 million from IndiaItems worth Rs 993 million were imported by Pakistan from India through the Wahga border during the third trading week of October of this year. The Pakistan Customs collected Rs 78.54 million on this import. Items of import included potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, polyethylene, polypropylene, oil cake, cotton yarn, fruits and carbon dioxide. In total, via Wahga border, Pakistan’s exports stood at Rs 993.83 million, the total duty paid by the country was Rs 17.3 million and the sales tax collected was Rs 11.99 million.
October 25, 2014
Pakistan imports items worth Rs 993 million from India: Customs Today, 25 October 2014
Border tensions hitting Indo-Pak trade, say Pakistan tradersPakistani traders, who were in Jalandhar for a joint exhibition, said that the heightened tension at the border between India and Pakistan is seriously affecting bilateral trade. According to them, obtaining visas has become difficult amidst the political and military tension. Out of the 150 Pakistani traders who had applied for business visas to participate in the exhibition, only 26 were able to obtain it. According to the traders, in other years, there were not many hassles in obtaining the visa. They further expressed that it is in the interest of the people of both countries to maintain peace and not let trade be impacted by politics.
October 14, 2014
Border tensions hitting Indo-Pak trade, say Pakistan traders: Daily News and Analysis, 13 October 2014
Advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister acknowledges that the meeting between Pakistan’s High Commissioner and Hurriyat leaders was ill-timedIn an interaction on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York, the advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on matters of National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, acknowledged that the meeting between Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India and the Hurriyat leaders (ahead of the foreign secretary level talks) was ill timed. He emphasized that this was a missed opportunity to start dialogue between the newly- elected leaders of both countries. However, he also suggested that engagement with Hurriyat leaders was not out of the ordinary and has been a regular practice since the past many years. While appreciating the Indian Prime Minister’s stance on bilateral relations with Pakistan in the former’s speech at the UNGA, he also insisted that the next step has to be taken by India to determine a date for talks to resume.
September 28, 2014
Pak High Commissioner–Hurriyat meeting was ill-timed: Aziz, Pakistan Today, 28 September 2014
India to import onions from Pakistan and Afghanistan to meet domestic demandThe National Agricultural and Marketing Federation (NAFED) is set to import onions from Pakistan and Afghanistan to avoid shortfall during the festive season. Domestic supplies have been hit because of the delay in sowing due to insufficient rainfall in the onion producing states in India. According to officials of the Delhi government, the import of onions from these two countries will also curb any potential rise in its prices. NAFED has decided to import 50,000 metric tonnes of onions from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
September 28, 2014
India eyes onions from Pakistan, Afghanistan to meet demand, Daily Times
Trade resumes at the Attari borderWith the intervention of the custom authority at Amritsar, trade between India and Pakistan at the Integrated Check Post (ICP) through the Attari border has resumed. Traders from both sides of the border called off the strike as the Central Warehouse Corporation (CWC) agreed to pay for damaged goods and to take responsibility for all kinds of losses during import and export from Pakistan. The traders, who had gone on strike along with the truckers protesting the poor infrastructure facilities at the ICP, were reassured by the CWC and the customs authority that they would communicate with the Commerce ministry to take care of the infrastructure issues.
September 24, 2014
Trade at Attari border improves on CWC, customs assurance: Press Trust of India, published in Business Standard (online edition), 24 September 2014
'Aalishan Pakistan Expo’ generates $1.5 million for Pakistan: Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP)The lifestyle exhibition ‘Aalishan Pakistan Expo’, held in New Delhi during September 11, 2014 to September 14, 2014, generated $1.5 million in revenues according to Mr. S.M. Muneer , Chief Executive of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). This event had a footfall of around 500,000 people over four days. The exhibition showcased high end brands as well as the cream of Pakistani designers over 270 stalls and 135 exhibitors. The TDAP also organized a business seminar with the support of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce as well as the Indian Commerce Ministry. Further, Mr. Muneer emphasized on the need to keep politics separate from trade, resonating the views of businessmen and traders from both countries
September 24, 2014
Around $1.5 million generated through 'Aalishan Pakistan Expo' in India: Muneer; Business Recorder,24 September 2014
Trade through Attari border comes to a standstill as truckers and traders go on strikeProtesting against poor infrastructure facilities at the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at the Attari border, traders and the truck union came together to go on an indefinite strike. Traders and truckers expressed concern over water logging at the ICP, absence of truck scanners and inaction on the part of the government despite repeated reminders. They further demanded that an office inside the ICP be set up to ensure that problems of truckers are resolved immediately. They indicated that their strike was more out of compulsion than choice as their efforts to persuade the authorities had been futile so far.
September 23, 2014
India Pakistan trade hit hard as traders, truckers go on strike; The Hindustan Times, 23 September 2014
Indian High Commissioner calls for opening more trade routes between India and PakistanDr. TCA Raghavan, the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, has suggested that more trade routes, particularly the Khokrapar-Monabao border point, be opened to further facilitate business between the two countries. In a meeting with businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he proposed a number of measures to enhance bilateral ties.
September 19, 2014
To facilitate better interaction between the commercial officers of the Indian High Commission and the KCCI, he suggested that the High Commission’s visa section be linked with the KCCI representatives via video conferencing every fortnight. Visits to the Attari border would also be arranged for representatives of Pakistan’s chambers of commerce. Further, Dr. Raghavan also informed the Pakistani businessmen of the High Commission’s plans to organize an event titled ‘Doing Business in India’ to discuss the trade policy under the new Indian government.
Mr. Siraj Kissam Teli, the former KCCI president, echoed the High Commissioner’s sentiments. He stressed that the true trade potential between the two countries has not been realized and that governments and bureaucracy were coming in the way of improving trade relations. Abdullah Zaki, the current president of the KCCI was in agreement with Mr. Teli and Dr. Raghavan and suggested that institutional agreements for developing check posts be designed, visa norms be eased along with swift customs clearance systems.
Pakistan, India: New trade routes will give a push to ties, says diplomat; The Express Tribune, 19 September 2014
India, Pakistan agree on gas pricingIslamabad has agreed to a pricing formula for import of natural gas from India, a silver lining in an otherwise fractious relationship between the nuclear-armed neighbours. The agreement follows discussions last month between GAIL India and the Inter State Gas Systems of Pakistan.
September 12, 2014
In 2012, India had offered to export up to 5 million cubic metres of gas per day to Pakistan for an initial period of five years. The two nations, however, had failed to fix a price. India will import liquefied natural gas (LNG) and send it to energy deficient Pakistan via a pipeline between Jalandhar and Wagah. The pipeline, in which GAIL is investing about Rs.500 crore, is likely to be operational in a year. LNG will be imported from Qatar through terminals in Maharashtra or Gujarat and then moved through GAIL's existing pipeline network to Jalandhar. Under the agreement, LNG will be gassified by the Indian side as Pakistan does not have an LNG import facility.
In this year's budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has granted basic customs duty exemption of 5 per cent on re-gasified LNG for supply to Pakistan. According to an Indian official, Pakistan will be offered the LNG without charging the marketing premium.
India is also in talks to supply electricity to Pakistan through a grid corridor that can carry 500-1,000 MW of electricity. India is also considering a proposal to allow Indian and Pakistani businessmen to meet at the Wagah border so proposals can be discussed in neutral territory without travel visas.
India, Pakistan settle gas pricing formula as trade talks gain ground, Economic Times, September 15, 2014 (online edition)
Pakistan lifestyle exhibition held in IndiaOne hundred and fifty companies under the umbrella of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan took part in the four-day Pakistan Lifestyle Exhibition held in New Delhi from September 11. They showcased Pakistan’s expertise in the textiles, marble and leather industries.
September 11, 2014
The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr. Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India. Mr. Khurram Dastgir, who was to have inaugurated the exhibition, had to cancel his visit following the political protest against the Nawaz Sharif government in Pakistan.
Mr. Sidharth Birla, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that such exhibitions were a sound platform to develop strong links between business people in the two countries.
Businesses representatives from India and Pakistan met during the course of the exhibition to discuss ways to boost bilateral trade and requested the governments to look at easier visa norms.
The two sides identified co-operation in areas like textiles, leather, gems and jewellery, renewable energy as those having the potential to transform economic ties and business between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan Lifestyle exhibition hopes to improve business ties with India, Live Mint, September 12, 2014
India, Pakistan business representatives meet to discuss ways to boost trade, Economic Times, September 12, 2014 (online edition)
India-Pakistan auto makers ink co-operation agreementManufacturing associations from India and Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that opens the doors for liberalising trade in the automotive sector on August 22. The meeting at Lahore, organised by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), brought together participants from Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) and the Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM).
August 27, 2014
ACMA and PAAPAM are planning their next meeting in India in October/November. The two associations are also considering the viability of setting up testing facilities in Pakistan and working together on skills development. They are also establishing a regular programme of discussion and meetings, and industrialist-to-industrialist contact.
The move is likely to push the process of liberalising trade between the two countries since Pakistan’s automotive sector was among the most vociferous opponents of the move to allow India non-discriminatory market access (NDMA), the equivalent of India being accorded the most favoured nation (MFN) status.
Indo, Pak auto parts makers join hands to boost trade, Business Standard, August 27, 2014
Pakistan seeks India’s help to facilitate tradeDespite the standoff following the meeting of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit with Kashmir separatist leaders, Pakistan has been urging India to facilitate business events to promote trade and investment between the two countries.
August 27, 2014
Two events scheduled in the near future are the ‘Made in Pakistan’ show to be held in Mumbai on August 31 and a lifestyle exhibition in Delhi in the second week of September. While the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has cleared both the events, over 600 business leaders expected to participate in the events are still awaiting their visas. The Pakistan High Commission is understood to have taken up the visa issue with the Indian government. India is expected to take a sympathetic view of Pakistan's business leaders as it believes that they have actively worked for trade normalization with India, notwithstanding pressure from the army to not give India NDMA.
Pakistan seeks India's help for focus on trade, Times of India, August 27, 2014 (online)
India-Pakistan Foreign Secretaries Meet Called offA meeting scheduled on August 25 between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan was called off by India following an invitation to tea extended by Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit to a Kashmiri separatist leader. The invitation was reportedly extended despite a warning by India’s foreign secretary to the Pakistani High Commissioner that he had to choose between talking to India and talking to separatists. This would have been the first meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries in 18 months.
August 18, 2014
The decision to call off the talks is expected to also cast a shadow on the resumption of trade talks between the two countries. It was expected that the foreign secretaries meet would pave the way for resumption of talks between the commerce ministries of the two countries. Indian foreign ministry officials ruled out the possibility of a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Mr. Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN general Assembly meet in September.
India calls off Pakistan talks after envoy invites Kashmiri separatist to tea, The Guardian, August 18, 2014
Trade ties take a hit, Pak will suffer more, Times of India, August 20, 2014
Defiant Pak envoy keeps date with K-separatists, Times of India, August 20, 2014
Commerce Secretaries of India and Pakistan likely to meet soonDuring the meeting of the Pakistan India Joint Business Forum (PIJBF) on August 7 and 8, 2014, business leaders from the two countries took stock of the progress by the task forces on energy and agriculture. Mr. Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman of the PIJBF, said during the meeting that the energy sector had been identified as one of the high potential areas. “Under this, we are planning to export power to Pakistan and obtain raw material such as coal in return”, he said. The other areas of co-operation that have been identified are agriculture, automotive and engineering, chemical and petrochemicals, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, information technology, textiles, education and vocational training, health care, dispute resolution and trade facilitation.
August 9, 2014
Mr. Syed Yawar Ali, co-chairman of the PIJBF, said all processes concerning the grant of ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) status to India had been done by the Pakistani government. He indicated a final decision on this would be taken only after the meeting of both foreign secretaries on August 25. He also felt that the time was not ripe for the opening of bank branches in each other countries since this can only be done when transactions between the two countries are formalised. He also said that the commerce secretaries of the two countries are likely to meet soon.
Business leaders from both countries urged a liberalised visa regime to facilitate greater trade between the two countries.
Pakistan’s High Commission to India, Mr. Abdul Basit, said that it wants a level-playing field for promoting and further strengthening trade ties with India. He emphasised that there was need to address issues relating to market access, tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Indo-Pak banks' branch opening to take time, Business Standard (online), August, 9, 2014
India, Pakistan foreign secretaries to meet on August 25The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan have decided to meet on August 25 at Islamabad. This will be the first diplomatic move towards resolving bilateral issues after ceasefire violations in January 2013 had to a freezing of the dialogue process between the two countries.
July 24, 2014
Amid hopes that the meeting may help bring back on track the derailed peace process, there was a nuanced difference in what New Delhi and Islamabad said about what the two foreign secretaries would discuss. India indicated its cautious approach on the outcomes expected from next month’s meeting, saying that the foreign secretaries “agreed to meet to take this process forward”, without mentioning the word dialogue. Pakistan, in its statement, said they would meet “to carry forward the dialogue process”. The Pakistan foreign ministry statement further said: “The foreign secretaries agreed that the dialogue process between the two countries should be result-oriented.”
Foreign secretary of India, Pakistan meet August 25, Asian Age, June 24, 2014
India considering access to Pakistani SIM cardsCommerce Secretary Rajeev Kher has written to the home ministry asking that Pakistan SIM cards be allowed access in India. India may soon allow mobile phone SIM cards issued in Pakistan to function in the country, a unilateral measure that could boost trade ties between the two neighbours that have so far cited security concerns to deny a longstanding demand of businessmen on both sides of the border. The government expects Pakistan to soon grant India non-discriminatory market access (NDMA), which will facilitate more trade through official channels.
July 8, 2014
Boosting Business Ties: Pakistani SIM cards may be allowed access in India soon! , The Economic Times, July 8, 2014
India-Pakistan trade talks to resume in JulyIndia and Pakistan will resume trade normalisation talks on the sidelines of the meeting of the SAFTA Ministerial Council in Bhutan next month. Commerce Ministers from both India and Pakistan have confirmed that they will attend the meeting. This was stated by Mr. Arvind Mehta, joint secretary in the commerce ministry.
June 17, 2014
In a separate meeting with reporters at an India-Pakistan event organised by FICCI, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Mr. Abdul Basit, refused to indicate when Pakistan will accord non-discriminatory market access. India has made this a pre-condition to lower duty on products exported by Pakistan to India, including textile products. Pakistan had indicated its readiness to extend NDMA status to India in April, postponed a decision in view of the parliamentary election that was held in May.
India, Pakistan to resume trade talks next month, July 17, 2014, The Hindu BusinessLine
India-Pakistan Prime Ministers meetIndia and Pakistan are to resume their peace dialogue, which, over the past year and a half, has progressed in fits and starts because of political tensions between the two countries. In a brief statement to the media after his meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif said that top diplomats of the two countries would meet soon to take the talks forward.
May 27, 2014
Mr. Sharif was in India to attend the swearing in of Mr. Narendra Modi as the Indian Prime Minister on May 26. His visit, despite reports that the military authorities in Islamabad were against his accepting the invitation for the swearing-in ceremony, has given rise to cautious optimism on improved bilateral relations between the two countries.
Although Mr. Modi delivered a blunt warning, telling his counterpart that Islamabad must prevent militants on its territory from attacking India, the meeting was reportedly cordial. Apart from resuming the peace dialogue, the two leaders also agreed to pursue normalisation of trade relations.
India's Modi prods Pakistan on terror on first day as PM, Reuters, May 28, 2014
India, Pakistan agreed to get peace talks back on track: Nawaz Sharif, DNA, May 27, 2014
Pakistan delegation to visit India for talks on LNG importA high-level Pakistani delegation is expected to leave for India on March 30 (Sunday) to discuss the possibility of importing 200 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of liquefied natural gas (LNG). According to officials in Pakistan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, the Pakistani delegation will be headed by Mr. Mobin Solut, Managing Director, Inter-State Gas System (ISGS).
March 29, 2014
Pricing and other commercial negotiations are currently under way. The cost of LNG imports to India currently range between $13 and $14 per million British thermal units (MMBTU); after including customs duty, pipeline transportation charges and local taxes, price on delivery works out close to $21 per MMBTU. Pakistan wants India to exempt LNG from taxes so that the delivery price does not exceed $16-17 MMBTU.
India has proposed laying a 110-km pipeline from Jalandhar to the Wagah border via Amritsar to supply natural gas to Pakistan. LNG will be imported through ports in Gujarat and will be moved through GAIL''s existing pipeline network till Jalandhar. The proposed line will ensure the transfer of gas from Jalandhar to Wagah.
LNG import: team going to India to explore prospects, March 29, 2014, Business Recorder (online version)
Agreement on electricity trade between India and PakistanPakistan’s Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile, Mr. Khurram Dastagir, announced on Tuesday (March 25) that an agreement had been reached with India to purchase electricity. Pakistan had submitted a draft power trade deal last week. The two sides have further co-ordinated technical working groups reviewing the initial implementation phase of the deal.
March 25, 2014
Earlier, the World Bank had confirmed that it would finance the feasibility study and the installation of the transmission line for implementing the deal for the transfer of 1200 MW of power from India to Pakistan.
Agreement with India to purchase electricity: Dastagir, Geo TV News, March 25, 2014
Pakistan cabinet on NDMA status to India postponedLack of consensus at home and the impending parliamentary elections in India has resulted in the postponement of a crucial Pakistan Cabinet meeting on Friday that was to take the decision to grant India non-discriminatory market access. This was stated by Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, on the sidelines of a two-day nuclear summit held in The Hague recently.
March 25, 2014
Apart from abolishing the negative list of items whose import from India was banned, the Pakistan Cabinet had also intended to take up the issue of allowing the import of more than 7000 items through the Wagah-Attari border. At present, only 138 items can be exported from India across the border.
Pakistan postpones NDMA status to India in view of LS polls: Nawaz Sharif, Zee News (online), March 25, 2014
Special Pakistan Cabinet meet on Friday on MFN status to IndiaA special meeting of the Pakistan Cabinet will be held on Friday to consider abolition of the negative list of items for trade and allowing all goods to be traded through the Attari-Wagah border. The abolition of the negative list would imply the grant of the most favoured nation status to India, now also referred to as non-discriminatory market access. The meeting has been proposed by that country's Commerce and Textile Industry Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan. Pakistan will only retain the sensitive list under the South Asian Free Trade Association (SAFTA) while the negative list is likely to be done away with. India, in turn, is expected to prune the list of sensitive items from the present 614 items to 10 items for all least developed countries, including Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
March 17, 2014
Liberalisation of business and trade between Pakistan, India, Daily Times (online edition), March 17, 2014
Sectoral task forces recommend measures to boost India-Pakistan tradeThe India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum concluded its meet in Lahore with a list of recommendations identifying areas of potential co-operation and specific steps to bolster bilateral trade in sectors such as agriculture, automotive, energy, and SMEs. The Forum is facilitated by the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) which have been appointed as Secretariats by the governments of the two countries. The Indian delegation was led by Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman Hero Motors India, with Mr Syed Yawar Ali, Chairman Nestle Pakistan, leading the Pakistan side.
February 26, 2014
The joint task force on agriculture proposed a bilateral agriculture trade agreement to create better trade links. The taskforce also recommended the urgent opening-up of the Wagah-Attari border for items such as farm machinery, equipment, and agricultural inputs. The automotive taskforce recommended that trade in the auto sector be initially boosted at the component level while encouraging co-operation between the two countries in terms of technical and skills development support.
The energy taskforce emphasised the importance of business-to-business collaboration and government support, specifically in renewable energy projects. It also urged the two governments to move forward to facilitate cross-border sale of power. The SME taskforce recommended that more items of small medium enterprises be added to Pakistan’s ‘Wagah-Attari Allowed List’. It also recommended the creation of warehousing facilities, simplified documentation and custom procedures and the creation of a robust finance infrastructure framework for SMEs to facilitate smoother transactions.
Liberalisation of business and trade between Pakistan, India, Daily Times (online edition), February 26, 2014
PNB applies for approval to open branch in PakistanState-owned Punjab National Bank has applied for approval to branches in Lahore and Karachi. Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Namo Narain Meena said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha that the bank has not yet received approval from the competent authority. He also said that the State Bank of Pakistan had indicated to the Reserve Bank of India that the Muslim Commercial Bank was interested in opening a branch in India.
February 21, 2014
PNB applies to open branches in Pakistan, Business Standard, February 22, 2014
Pakistan Commission on Indus Waters MOU for electricity trade with IndiaThe Pakistan Commission on Indus Waters (PCIW) has cleared the draft of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed with India for import of electricity, saying such an exchange between Pakistan and India has relevance under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960. According to an official of the Pakistan’s Ministry of Water and Power, the draft memorandum of understanding has been prepared in consultations with the government of India. Under the MoU draft, infrastructure required on both sides to start the electricity trade will be constructed and financed by the two respective governments. The PGCIL (Grid Corporation of India Limited) will construct the part of the interconnection falling in Indian Territory while NTDC (National Transmission Dispatch Company) will do so in Pakistan.
February 17, 2014
The official also said that the pre-feasibility done by Hagler Bailly Pakistan, funded by the World Bank, has worked out the delivered cost of electricity to be imported from India at 10-11 US cents per unit.
According to the MoU, an interconnection will be built between Amritsar and Lahore. The interconnection would be on 400 kV DC or 500 kV DC depending on the joint determination of experts of NTDC and Grid Corporation of India Limited. The interconnection would run on 22 kV AC in the beginning phase but would convert to DC after the commissioning of a back to back converter station. Under the MoU, nominated teams of engineers of NTDC and PGCIL will address system compatibility issues and decide on the voltage level and best nodes on both sides of interconnection. The MoU, however, does not cover the commercial aspect of import and export of power.
All stakeholders clear MoU to import power from India?, The International News, February 17, 2014
India show at LahoreThe India Show at Lahore concluded successfully with hopes of increased business interaction between businesspersons of the two countries. The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) played a pivotal role during the whole event, arranging more than 50 business-to-business (B2B) meetings between the Indian trade delegates and renowned Pakistani businessmen, trade associations, chambers and exporters. One of the highlights of the show was the permission granted to Indian participants to display goods on Pakistan’s negative list, a one-time, surprise permission granted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif just before the show started on January 14.
February 17, 2014
Earlier on February 15, TDAP had arranged meetings between the high level FICCI delegation with the governor and chief minister of Punjab. Besides this, the federal minister for commerce and textile hosted a lunch for Indian delegates and prominent government, trade and chamber officials.
Second India Show concludes, Daily Times, online edition, February 17, 2014
India’s exports of agricultural products to Pakistan rises sharplyAgriculture exports from India to Pakistan have more than doubled in the past year on higher demand for commodities such as pulses and vegetables. According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority data, India’s agriculture exports to Pakistan stood at $146 million between April and October 2013, nearly 97 per cent higher than the export in the same period last year. In terms of quantity too, exports increased threefold or nearly 198 per cent.
February 3, 2014
Vegetable exports rose 520 per cent in dollar and 477 per cent in value terms while export of pulses rose 56 per cent in dollar terms and 156 per cent in quantity and that of dairy products rose 170 per cent in value and 147 per cent in quantity terms. India also exported onions worth $17 million (73,140 million tonnes) till October last year, against $8.90 million (38,823 million tonnes) for the whole of 2012-13.
India's agri export to Pak soars ahead of trade pact, Business Standard, February 5, 2014
Pakistan to accord NDMA to India next monthPakistan has offered India non-discriminatory market access (NDMA) from next month if India were to give access to 250-300 of items at lowered duties. The Pakistan government has already handed over the list of items for which it is seeking lower tariffs to the Indian government. These items have been listed in the sensitive list of South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA). Textiles and chemicals, which form the bulk of these products, are currently subject to higher duties by India.
January 26, 2013
The offer to allow NDMA was made during the talks trade talks held earlier in the month. The NDMA has been suggested as a new name for MFN in an attempt to reduce the political fallout. The move means that Pakistan’s negative list of 1209 items will be abolished.
The Pakistani online newspaper Dawn.com quotes a senior commerce ministry official as saying that the status will be granted to India through the issuance of a statutory regulatory order (SRO).
MFN status for India on the cards, Dawn.com, January 26, 2012
Soneri Bank to start operations in IndiaLahore-based Soneri Bank Ltd is planning to enter India, starting with a branch in Amritsar, followed at a later date with branches in Delhi and Mumbai. The bank’s chairman, Mr. Alauddin Feerasta said that they would soon approach the Reserve Bank of India. This will be the first overseas expansion for the bank. Explaining the choice of Amritsar for the first branch of the bank in India, he pointed out that Amritsar was close to Lahore where the bank is headquartered. Opening the branch in Amritsar is also expected to ease problems faced by traders since the lack of formal banking channels made it difficult for them to even open a letter of credit.
January 22, 2013
Detailing the plans to open the branch, Mr. Feerasta said that while key management posts would be manned by Pakistanis, they intended to hire Indian professionals for other posts.
Pakistan's Soneri Bank mulls India foray, Business Standard (online), January 23, 2013
Pakistan Cabinet nod for MOU on electricity trade with IndiaThe Pakistan Cabinet approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Pakistan and India for trade of electricity. The Ministry of Water and Power had initiated negotiations with India in this regard. The World Bank has undertaken to finance the feasibility study for the project.
January 20, 2013
Cabinet approves MOU with India for trade of electricity, The International News (Web edition), January 20, 2013
India-Pakistan Commerce Secretary level talks on January 16The commerce secretaries of the governments of India and Pakistan will meet on January 16 to resume trade talks that had been suspended following the build up of tension on the border through most of last year. Besides the secretary level meeting, which will be held on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) Ministerial meeting to be held in New Delhi, a SAARC business conclave will also be held. The Pakistani delegation will be led by the Minister of State for Commerce and Textiles, Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan. Pakistan’s Commerce Secretary, Mr. Qasim M Niaz, will be accompanying the minister.
January 08, 2013
Indo-Pak trade normalisation dialogue to resume next week, Business Standard (online edition), January 9, 2014
Pakistan asks India to indicate items to be removed from sensitive listPakistan has asked India to first informally share the hundred items that it will exclude from the list of sensitive items protected against application of the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement, before Islamabad takes any decision on normalising trade. The list is to be shared on ‘non-paper’, a document that has no legal binding. The demand was made during the visit of Pakistan’s Minister of State for Commerce and Textiles, Mr. Khurram Dastgir, to India recently.
January 02, 2013
India, on its part, has linked the removal of these items to Pakistan’s decision to remove the negative list of items that cannot be imported from India. During the last meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce, Mr. Dastgir had stated that the negative list would not be completely eliminated until concerns of Pakistan’s industry were addressed. He had said that Pakistan first wanted to hold talks on non-discriminatory access of goods and that both countries were holding talks to enhance customs hours.
Trade Barriers: Govt sets terms for freer trade with Delhi, The Express Tribune (Online), January 2, 2014
Indian firm to set up power plant in PakistanPakistan has signed an agreement with the Indian firm Universal Biomass Energy to set up a 15 MW biomass power plant in Pakistani Punjab. Universal Biomass Energy director, Mr. Pawan Preet Singh Badal and Mr. Ejaz Munir, Agriculture Secretary of Pakistani Punjab, signed a memorandum of understanding for the project during a ceremony held yesterday at the Chief Minister's Secretariat here. According to the MoU, the plant would be handed over to Pakistani authorities after successful installation and working within two years. The energy generated by it would be linked with a 132-KVA supply line. The MOU also says that more such projects would be taken up to help Pakistan overcome its energy crisis.
December 28, 2013
Indian firm to set up power project in Pakistani Punjab, Business Standard, December 29, 2013
Pakistan-India trade to be liberalised, talks to be delinked from composite dialogueThe Business Recorder (Pakistan) cited Pakistani officials as saying that the Pakistani government had decided to liberalise trade significantly with India and de-link it from the composite dialogue process. Pakistan’s Minister of State for Commerce Minister, Khurram Dastgir Khan is expected to formally announce further liberalisation of trade with India during his visit to attend the SAARC Business Enclave on 14-16 January 2013. The officials are reported to have indicated that Pakistan would expand the list of importable items from the current 137 items to 500 items. One reason for the move is the commitment Pakistan made to liberalise trade with India in a letter of intent submitted to the International Monetary Fund as a pre-requisite for a US$6.4 billion Extended Fund facility.
December 23, 2013
Trade has clear precedence over composite dialogue, Business Recorder (online edition), December 23, 2013
India-Pakistan trade talks to resume early next yearPakistan and India had agreed to resume trade talks, according official of Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce. Talks will resume with secretary level discussions in India which will be held in late January or February. Trade talks between the two countries last took place in September 2012.
December 20, 2013
Trade talks to resume between Pakistan and India, The Nation (online edition), December 20, 2013
GAIL gets in-principle nod to export LNG to PakistanThe finance ministry is understood to have given its in-principle approval to GAIL’s plan to export 5 million metric standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Pakistan. It is likely to waive duty on the proposed export. The Hindu quotes a petroleum ministry official as stating that it would consider issuing an exemption notification based on the co-relation between LNG imported and re-gasified LNG exported in terms of energy units. The finance ministry has also expressed apprehension about the complications that could arise from a sudden termination of the contract. It has asked the petroleum ministry to decide on issues such as what would constitute a force majeure incident and how the termination of contract would be determined. On its part, GAIL has sought letters of credit from Pakistan for $415 million to cover the estimated value of RLNG supply for three months and a bank guarantee for $100 million to cover the minimum termination amount.
December 20, 2013
LNG export to Pakistan: GAIL gets FinMin’s in-principle nod, The Hindu (online edition), December 20, 2013
Indian Punjab to help set up bio-gas plants, TERI to help develop renewable energy solutions in Punjab, PakistanPunjab deputy chief minister, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, has promised to support Pakistan Punjab in setting up biomass plants. Pakistan Punjab chief minister, Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, had evinced keen interest in setting up such plants across Pakistan for producing power following a visit to a 15MW biomass energy plant at Channu village on Sunday. Mr. Sharif also showed immense interest in agriculture implements made in Indian Punjab and also sought Mr. Badal’s help for sharing technology which could revolutionize agriculture scene in Pakistan Punjab. During his visit to Punjab, Mr. Sharif also visited Vedanta Plc thermal plant to assess the possibilities of power generation in Pakistan Punjab.
December 16, 2013
Besides, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) will be providing support to neighbouring country Pakistan to develop renewable energy solutions. Officials of the organisation will be visiting Pakistan from December 21 in this regards. Mr. Shahbaz Sharif has invited the delegation from TERI to hold a dialogue with him and his senior officials as well as others in Lahore, particularly for identifying renewable energy based solutions and facilitating their implementation. The delegation will spend three days in Pakistan working closely with departments and agencies of the Government of Punjab there.
Indian Punjab to help Pak Punjab set up biomass energy plants, Times of India, December 17, 2013
Teri to help Pakistan develop renewable energy solutions, Business Standard (online), December 20, 2013
West and East Punjab to sign protocal on mutual co-operationThe chief ministers of West Punjab (Pakistan) and East Punjab (India) announced that a protocol would be signed to identify mutual areas of interest and co-operation. Indian Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Pakistan Punjab counterpart Shahbaz Sharif will sign the agreement on Sunday.
December 14, 2013
Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, who is the younger brother of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and is currently visiting Punjab, mooted the proposal of a protocol agreement during deliberations held at the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU). He also suggested that delegations such as the one last year led by the Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal should visit each other’s countries more frequently to explore the untapped potential in industry, agriculture, agro-processing, textile and infrastructure.
Indian, Pakistani Punjab to sign protocol for co-operation, Business Standard (online version), December 17, 2013
New Trade Facilitation Centre opened in UriA Trade Facilitation Centre was opened by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Mnister, Mr. Omar Abdullah, at Uri near the LoC. Talking to traders after the opening, Mr. Abdullah said that more initiatives are required to ensure further growth of the trade across LoC, while underlining the importance of cross-border trade as a confidence building measure.
December 2, 2013
He also reiterated the need to convert the present barter system of trade into normal trade practices so that traders of both sides get benefits and trade activities flourish. He mentioned the need for telephone and banking facilities for traders and said that his government has already taken up these issues with the Government of India and will pursue these at the highest level.
Traders presented their own wish list to the chief minister. This included the demand for certain items to be included in the list of permitted import and export. The items listed for export were milk and milk products, mineral water, canned trout fish, juices and jams, wheat and wheat products, sports items, Kashmiri willow, wazwan, marble and gypsum. Goods that they demand be allowed to import included all type of pulses, oil seeds, feeds, leather and leather products, tea and coffee, all types of tyres and tubes, milk products, lubricants, hosiery and cosmetics goods, electric goods, textiles items, surgical items, fertilisers, food grains and spices, spare parts of automobile and poultry products.
Cross LoC trade important CBM between India and Pakistan: Omar, Business Recorder (online edition), December 2, 2013
Service agreement for TAPI pipeline signed in TurkmenistanA service agreement for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline was signed in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on November 20, 2013. The signatories included the transactional advisor for the project, the Asian Development Bank, the state-owned Turkmengas (Turkmenistan), Afghan Gas Corporation (Afghanistan, Inter State Gas Systems Limited (Pakistan) and the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) (India).
November 21, 2013
The agreement will provide a legal framework for addressing issues relating to the setting up of a TAPI consortium, which will finance and construct the project. The design capacity of the pipeline is 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year. Expected to be 1735 metres long, the pipeline will extend from Turkmenistan’s largest gas field, Galkhynysh, through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar to the Fazilka settlement on the Pakistan-India border.
Service agreement for TAPI gas pipeline project signed, International News Network (online), November 21, 2013
India seeks sovereign payment guarantee for gas export to PakistanIndia has sought from Pakistan sovereign payment guarantees before it can sign a contract to export natural gas through a pipeline from Punjab. Besides sovereign guarantees, India wants sureties for three months payment and advance termination commitments. Five rounds of negotiations have been held between the two sides.
November 2, 2013
The state-owned Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) plans to initially supply 5 million standard cubic metres per day of gas to Pakistan through a 110-km pipeline from Jalandhar to international border near Atari. GAIL plans to import gas in its liquid form, called liquefied natural gas (LNG), on a port in Gujarat or Maharashtra. After converting this again into gaseous state, it is proposed to transport the gas through cross-country pipeline network to Jalandhar. From Jalandhar, a 110-km line is proposed to be laid to international border near Atari for delivery to Pakistan.
Pipeline exports to Pakistan are being looked upon as a method for testing the viability of an energy pact with the neighbouring nation as a precursor to India importing gas through Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline. If this system of payments and guarantees works, then imports through the TAPI pipeline could be feasible.
India seeks payment guarantee from Pak for signing gas pact, PTI report, Hindu Business Line, November 2, 2013
Young Entrepreneurs Bilateral Summit: Joint StatementThe 50 young entrepreneurs from Pakistan and India attending the ‘Indo-Pak Young Entrepreneurs Bilateral’ passed a joint declaration that proposes specific actions and processes to establish and encourage an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem between the two countries. The recommendations include measures to bring down barriers between youth in the two countries, change perceptions, increase people-to-people interaction and provide opportunities to increase flow of trade, business and constructive ideas. It says that in order to create enabling environments, there was a need to build an atmosphere of trust and policy transparency, ease travel and communication across borders, invest in educational programmes and curriculum development tailored to the job market in both countries and enable a robust system for cross-border employment.
October 30, 2013
The joint statement also calls for rationalising cross-border tariff, improving trade infrastructure, pruning the negative list, exploring the possibility of trade in energy and power through better co-operation, promoting cross-border investment, improving the use of social media to build a borderless world linking the youth of both countries, discouraging informal trade between the two countries by creating a conducive trade policy and creating a currency exchange and bank remittances mechanism.
Indo-Pak delegates resolve to rise together, The News (Pakistan), October 31. 2013
Pak-India Young Entrepreneurs Bilateral SummitAn Indian delegation comprising 21 young entrepreneurs arrived in Pakistan on Sunday to explore business and trade co-operation. The delegates are to attend Pak-India Young Entrepreneurs Bilateral Summit being organised by the Young Entrepreneurs Forum (YEF) of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI) in partnership with Young Indians (Yi), and Commonwealth Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE). The summit will begin on Tuesday, October 29. The Commonwealth Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE) is a network of young entrepreneur organisations from eight Commonwealth Asia countries including India, Pakistan Bangladesh, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Maldives and Sri Lanka. Under the banner of CAAYE, an annual summit is held in a host country, where each country’s youth network brings together entrepreneurs for networking opportunities and potential trade and for improved relations. Since CAAYE has been invited to present their recommendations at the CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka in November, and the heads of governments of both India and Pakistan will be present, it was decided that the joint recommendations that come out of the Indo-Pak Young Entrepreneurs Bilateral Summit will be presented to the heads of governments of India and Pakistan.
October 28, 2013
Pak-India Young Entrepreneurs Bilateral Summit tomorrow, News International, October 28, 2013
India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum MeetImproved connectivity between India and Pakistan, including mobile connectivity and courier services between the two countries, were among the major issues that came up for discussion during the two-day India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum meet, which concluded on October 12 in New Delhi. It was also felt that logistics need to be worked out for better handling of trucks and economic traffic at the Wagah-Attari border and more land routes should be opened to give a boost to economic activity. SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and member of the Forum, Mr. Vikramjit Singh Sahani said that it had been decided to have two bank branches of each other’s banks in India and Pakistan after due clearances. He also said that areas identified for co-operation between the two countries include petroleum, power, agriculture, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
October 12, 2013
Business leaders of the two countries made a strong pitch for an end to hostility between the two countries, and emphasised that business and trade should not be held hostage to political developments.
Bashir seeks “breakthrough" in Indo-Pak economic relations, The Hindu (online), October 12, 2013
Indian-Pakistan officials meet to discuss border trade in KashmirPoonch District Development Commissioner Sajjad Ahmed Khan held talks with Mr. Ismail Khan, Director General of Trans-LoC (Line of Control) Trade and Travel in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir at Zero Point Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch District to discuss matters related to cross border trade and travel. The meeting was held in accordance with directions of the working group to review quarterly progress on travel and trade matters. Cross border trade between India and Pakistan has suffered due to repeated ceasefire violations and the killing of Indian Army soldiers this year.
October 11, 2013
India, Pak authorities meet at Zero Point, discuss cross-border trade, Business Standard (online edition), October 11, 2013
First bank branch opens on Wagah borderThe first-ever bank branch was opened on the Pakistani side of the Wagah border to facilitate businessmen of India and Pakistan who used to face problems in paying duties and taxes due to lack of banking facility. The National Bank of Pakistan opened its full-fledged branch at the border. Earlier, there were only bank collection booths at the border. Businessmen of both countries used to face huge problems in paying government duties and taxes for clearance of their goods at the border and sometimes the clearance was unnecessarily delayed due to improper banking infrastructure at the border.
October 9, 2013
First Bank Branch Opened at Pak Side of Wagah Border, Outlook India.com, October 9, 2013
MOU signed between AIAI and FPCCI to enhance trade and investment between India and PakistanIndustry lobby All-India Association of Industries (AIAI) today said it has entered into an agreement with the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) to promote trade between the two countries.
October 8, 2013
The memorandum of understanding signed here today aims to enhance trade and investments between the two nations, an AIAI statement said.
It also seeks to increase joint ventures, collaborations and technology transfers through an exchange of business proposals.
Apart from that it also seeks to offer mutual help in the organisation of and participation in trade fairs and exhibitions, the statement said.
AIAI inks pact with FPCCI for promoting Indo-Pak trade, New Indian Express, October 8, 2013
India-Pakistan Business Council to meet next week in DelhiIn an interaction with a groups of business leaders at a meet organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Mr. Salman Bashir, said that the second meeting of the India-Pakistan Joint Business Council will be held in New Delhi next week. The council, set up by the commerce ministries of the two nations and comprising 15 business leaders from both sides, held its first meeting in Islamabad in June. It has already set up four task forces to identify, recommend and initiate the process of partnership in different sectors. The high commissioner said Pakistan was keen to take pragmatic steps to promote trade and economic co-operation with India.
October 7, 2013
India-Pakistan business meet in Delhi next week, Daily News (online edition), October 7, 2013
First India-Pakistan joint venture set up in PunjabAn Amritsar-based wood products maker has formed a joint venture with a Lahore-based company in what is seen as the first joint venture between the two neighbours.
September 16, 2013
Pardeep Sehgal and Farooq A Malik, promoters of Nobel Tran slinks and Interwood Mobel respectively, have contributed 31crore each to the 50:50 joint venture - IWM Interwood Mobel Private Limited registered in India. The joint venture displayed its furniture line, imported from Pakistan, at a trade fair in Chandigarh.
Naeem Anwar, Pakistan’s minister (trade) in the High Commission in New Delhi, who was present in Chandigarh, claimed that 41 Indian companies were waiting to invest in Pakistan. He said that the amendments to the Foreign Exchange Management Act in October 2012 has eased restrictions on such collaborations and that the joint venture would go some way towards removing apprehensions in the minds of businesspersons on both sides of the border.
Business Crosses Border as India, Pak Prepare for a JV, Economic Times (Chandigarh), September 16, 2013
Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers meet in New YorkThe Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and his Pakistani counterpart Mr. Nawaz Sharif in New York agreed to work to restore a cross-border ceasefire after a spate of shootings to improve strained ties. The two prime ministers agreed to instruct military officials to work together to develop a mechanism to stop ceasefire violation, according to the Indian national security adviser, Mr. Shiv Shankar Menon. Mr. Menon said that both countries recognised that peace and tranquillity across the Line of Control was a precondition for the normalisation of ties between the two countries. The two also agreed to ask military officials on both sides to work together to stop ceasefire violations.
September 29, 2013
No MFN status to India: Pakistan, Hindustan Times, September 29, 2013
Pakistan will not grant India MFN statusPakistan ruled out the possibility of according India MFN status when there is tension on the borders. Pakistan’s Minister of State for Education, Mr. Muhammad Balighur Rehman, who was speaking on behalf of the Minister of State for Privatisation, told Pakistan’s National Assembly that the Pakistan government could not take a stand alone in this regard. He, however, claimed that significant progress on the issue had been made since the two sides held talks on the MFN issue during 2011-12.
September 27, 2013
No MFN status to India: Pakistan, Hindustan Times, September 27, 2013
No major headway in Indus water-sharing talksNo major headway was made between India and Pakistan on the water sharing issue during talks, which concluded on September 25. During the four-day deliberations, both the sides exchanged views on four contentious projects, including Pakistan's objection to 850 MW Ratle, 120 MW Miyar, 48 MW Lower Kalnai and 1,000 MW Pakal Dul hydro projects, proposed to be constructed by India in Chenab basin in Jammu and Kashmir.
September 25, 2013
The five-member Pakistan delegation claimed that the projects could reduce flow of water into its territory, thus depriving its agriculture of an essential input. However, India sought to allay the fear at the Permanent Indus Commission here.
Sources said both the sides agreed to continue their discussion in the next meeting of the Commission, likely to be held in Pakistan.
India-Pakistan talks on water sharing issue: No major headway, Economic Times, September 25, 2013
Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Nawaz Sharif to meet in New YorkEnding weeks of speculation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters that he would be meeting his Pakistani counterpart, Mr. Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meet. The meeting is expected to take place on September 29. The uncertainty surrounding a possible meeting the two prime ministers followed heightened tension on the borders between the two countries, beginning with an ambush in early August that resulted in the death of five Indian soldiers. Border clashes have continued since then. However, reports indicate that not much of significance is likely to emerge from the talks, which is expected to be of symbolic importance as an icebreaker. This will be the first meeting between the two prime ministers after Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s election in May this year.
September 25, 2013
Manmohan Singh to meet Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif in New York, Live Mint, September 25, 2013
Nawaz Sharif approves electricity import by Pakistan from IndiaPakistani Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, has approved a summary regarding the import of 500 MW of electricity from India. India had offered to export electricity to Pakistan in April 2011 and although a memorandum of understanding has reportedly been signed by the two countries, no decision on tariff has been made yet.
September 24, 2013
Nawaz approves electricity import from India, Pakistan Today, September 24, 2013 (online edition)
Permanent Indus Commission Meet to begin on September 23A five-member delegation of Pakistan's Indus Water Commission headed by its commissioner reached India today through Attari to participate in the 109th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission to be held in New Delhi from September 23. The meeting is expected to take up Pakistan’s objection to four hydroelectric power projects that are proposed to be conducted by India on the River Chenab. Pakistan has objected to the design of the project, which, it says, makes it difficult for Pakistani authorities to see the spillway and sighting intake. Mirza Asif Beg, Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters, said that the delegation could also discuss the Kishanganga project besides chalking out future tour of inspections and programmes during the four-day meeting.
September 21, 2013
Indus panel to discuss J-K hydro projects, The Tribune, September 21, 2013
Khokhrapar/Monabao trade route to be openedPakistan’s Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the Pakistan National Assembly that the Pakistani government would finalise the mechanism to initiate talks on opening the Khokhrapar/Monabao trade route. A decision had been taken to open Khokhrapar/Monabao route for normal trade between Pakistan and India during the meeting in Islamabad in February last year. Mr. Ahmad also said that there were some problems regarding infrastructure at Khokrapar/Monabao but added that these issues were being looked into by the Indian and Pakistani governments.
NA informed about decision to open Khokhrapar/Monabao trade route, South Asian, News Agency, No dateline given
India-Pakistan Track II dialogue on trade, water and rights issuesAn Indian Parliamentary delegation led by Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar met their Pakistani counterparts in Islamabad for a Track II dialogue that focused on trade, water and trade issues. Both sides agreed that the peace process between the two countries should not become a victim of the domestic politics of the two countries and that there was need for ‘uninterrupted dialogue’ between the two countries.
September 19, 2013
MPs from India, Pakistan hold Track-II dialogue on trade, water, rights issues, Times of India, September 19, 2013
Pak assures IMF on MFN status to IndiaTrade flows between India and Pakistan have continued to flow smoothly despite the recent in tension on the India-Pakistan border. According to a statement by the Minister of State for Commerce, Ms. D. Purandeswari in Parliament, there has been considerable progress in improving bilateral trade ties and that ceasefire violations at the border have not affected two-way trade. Bilateral trade is conducted mostly through the Mumbai-Karachi sea route and Attari-Wagah land route. Traders from both sides have been demanding the upgradation of infrastructure to keep pace with expanding trade, especially through the Attari-Wagah land route. Recently, the Nawaz Sharif government has sought assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to set up a border management system to deal with increased trade and transit traffic through the Attari-Wagah border.Pakistan has committed in writing to the International Monetary Fund that it was moving forward with eliminating the negative list on trade with New Delhi and granting the Most Favoured Nation status to India as part of its overall trade policy. The commitment was made during negotiations for a US$6.64 billion bailout package that Pakistan has approached the fund for. Last month, in a television interview, Mr. Dar had said that Pakistan had no immediate plans to grant India MFN status and that relations between the two countries had to be normalised first before moving forward on the issue.
September 8, 2013
Pak assures IMF on MFN status to India, Indian Express, September 8, 2013
Despite border tensions, trade flows between India and Pakistan continue smoothlyTrade flows between India and Pakistan have continued to flow smoothly despite the recent in tension on the India-Pakistan border. According to a statement by the Minister of State for Commerce, Ms. D. Purandeswari in Parliament, there has been considerable progress in improving bilateral trade ties and that ceasefire violations at the border have not affected two-way trade. Bilateral trade is conducted mostly through the Mumbai-Karachi sea route and Attari-Wagah land route. Traders from both sides have been demanding the upgradation of infrastructure to keep pace with expanding trade, especially through the Attari-Wagah land route. Recently, the Nawaz Sharif government has sought assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to set up a border management system to deal with increased trade and transit traffic through the Attari-Wagah border.
August 18, 2013
Trade flows between India and Pakistan despite tensions, NY Daily News, August 19, 2013
MFN status to India not under consideration of Pakistan governmentPakistan’s finance minister, Mr. Ishaq Dar, ruled out the grant of MFN status to India in the near future. In an interview broadcast on Geo News Channel, he said that the two countries needed to first normalise “other things”. Pakistan has already missed a December 31, 2012 deadline, by when it was supposed to accord MFN status to India and which had been set in earlier talks to normalise trade between the two countries. The statement comes even as Mr. Dar admitted that trade promotion will lead to an increase in GDP and per capita incomes in Pakistan.
August 12, 2013
No Plans to give India MFN status: Pak FM, The Times of India (print version), August 13, 2013
ICD proposal sent to Finance Ministry for approvalA proposal to set up an inland container depot (ICD) on the India Pakistan border has been sent to the Union Finance Ministry for approval. The proposed ICD aims to boost bilateral trade between India and Pakistan through the land route. According to a Press Trust of India report, it is felt that the newly built integrated check post will not be able to handle the flow of trade once Pakistan grants MFN status to India. There have also been demands by traders in Amritsar calling for containerisation of trade between India and Pakistan and the setting up of a dry port at the integrated check post for the purpose.
July 29, 2013
Proposal for setting up ICD sent to Finance Ministry, Economic Times (electronic version), July 29, 2013
Pakistan seeks ADB help to establish border management regimeThe Pakistan government has sought assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to put in place a border management regime to deal with increased trade and transit traffic through Torkha, Chaman and Wagah borders. ADB, which has already started evaluating the project, is expected to allocate a sum of $120 million to modernise border point infrastructure to meet the demand for quality border crossing services.
July 27, 2013
The project components will include land acquisition, design and layout of border crossing points in line with the security requirements, installation of inspection-related and information and communication technology equipment and hardware, and changes in cross-border process and procedures. It will also include capacity development of border officials.
ADB to assist border trade transit regime, Dawn.com, July 27, 2013
Pakistan automobile sector softens stand on trade liberalisation with IndiaAutomobile manufacturers in Pakistan, who were among those vehemently opposed to the grant of MFN status to India, appear to have softened their stand on the issue. Car assemblers in Pakistan are now willing to import CKD units from India but are against the import of completely built units. The willingness stems from a possible reduction in costs as imports from India, which is closer to Pakistan, replace imports from Thailand and Japan.
July 22, 2013
Auto parts makers, the other major stakeholders in the industry, are less enthusiastic about the move. While they claim willingness to enter into joint ventures with Indian partners, they claim that trade with India is made difficult because of non-tariff barriers.
Trade competition: Pakistan’s auto industry determined to find middle ground with Indian counterparts, The Express Tribune, July 23, 2013
Rupee fall leads to decline in Indian imports from PakistanThe weakening of the rupee against the US dollar has resulted in a decline of as much as 30 to 35 per cent in the volume of commodities imported from Pakistan to India. Trade between the two countries is denominated in US dollars. The volatility of the rupee against the dollar has made traders wary of entering into import contracts because of uncertainty surrounding the exchange rate. Traders claim that the number of trucks crossing over the Atari border carrying goods like cement, gypsum and chemicals has almost halved from about 125 to 130 trucks to 70. Import of dry fruit, particularly of dates which will start in the next 15 to 20 days, is also expected to be hit hard. On an average, 17 lakh bags (70 kg bag) of dry fruits are imported by India from Pakistan ever year.
July 15, 2013
Weakening Indian rupee hits imports from Pakistan, The Nation, July 18, 2013
Company to be set up soon to execute TAPI pipeline projectIn a development that is likely to give a big impetus to the strategic Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan have agreed to form a company for execution of the project and give it shape by September this year.
July 13, 2013
“The strategic TAPI pipeline project which will transport gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India has gathered momentum with the Petroleum and Energy Ministers of the four nations agreeing to form a company by end-September this year to execute the ambitious plan. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been appointed as legal-technical consultant and it will soon identify a company which will drive the project. The company will be from a neutral country,’’ top sources in the Petroleum Ministry told The Hindu.
A decision on this issue was taken during the meeting Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Veerappa Moily, had with Rashid Meredov, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, during his visit to Ashgabat late last week. Mr. Moily was in Ashgabat to participate in the meeting of the Steering Committee on the TAPI gas pipeline project. Following the meeting of the Steering Committee, a protocol was signed in which the parties fixed the decision on the need to prepare founding documents and the registration of the TAPI Ltd. consortium as well as signing an agreement for a transaction adviser for the TAPI project.
India has already approved setting up of a special purpose vehicle to build the TAPI gas pipeline as the multinational firms did not come forward to build the project. The Dubai-based SPV, TAPI Ltd, will scout for consortium leader who will build and operate the project, arrange for finances and would be responsible for safe delivery of gas through the pipeline that will traverse militancy-infested areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
TAPI Ltd is required to have an initial contribution of $20 million that is $5 million from an identified entity from each of the four participating countries. While Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan were of the view that the four promoters could build and operate the pipeline on their own, India has insisted that the project be taken up only if a multinational company leads it. New Delhi does not want to be at the mercy of Afghanistan and Pakistan for its gas needs and also feels that none of the nominee companies of the four countries have the financial and managerial capability to execute the project.
Pakistan delegation to visit India to finalise gas dealA Pakistan delegation will visit India shortly to finalise a deal to import gas from India through a 120-km pipeline. The actual supplies are expected to begin n eighteen months after the deal is signed. Pakistan will offer sovereign guarantees to the Gas Authority of India (GAIL) to build the pipeline up to the international border. Pakistan’s Inter State Gas Services Company will construct the pipeline from the international border to the outskirts of Lahore. While India has offered the gas at $21 per million metric BTU, Pakistan has agreed to pay only $16 per mm BTU. GAIL has asked for duty exemptions to be able to sell gas to Pakistan at the lower price.
July 8, 2013
Pakistan also plans to import 500 MW of power from India to tide over the severe energy crisis that the country faces. The modalities for the import of power are yet to be finalised. Power shortage in Pakistan is estimated at 5000 MW.
Gas deal with Pakistan on way, The Telegraph, July 9, 2013
India-Pakistan JBC to set up 10 sector-specific task forcesThe India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum (IPJBF) has decided to set up 10 sector specific task forces that will include members from the Council as well as other prominent businesspersons in the respective sectors to recommend measures to resolve the problems businesses in these sectors face in bilateral trade. The taskforces are expected to submit their recommendation within 60 days of their formation. Five of the ten sectors will be prioritised. These are agriculture and agricultural products, automobiles and engineering, textiles and textile made-ups, pharmaceuticals and, education and vocational training. The decision was announced in the concluding session of the first meeting of the IPJBF. The next meeting of the forum will be held in September in New Delhi at which the taskforces will report on the progress in their respective areas.
July 2, 2013
Pak-India businessmen commit to normalising trade, Daily Times, July 02, 2013
India-Pakistan Business meet on June 29The first meeting of the Indo-Pakistan Joint Business Council on June 29 is expected to discuss issues relating to the grant of MFN status to India, agriculture and textile exports, the Tapi pipeline project and co-operation in infrastructure and information technology. Besides, air and rail connectivity, a relaxed visa regime and the creation of banking channels are among the other issues that are expected to be discussed. The meeting is expected to draw up a new road map to normalise trade relations between the two countries.
June 26, 2013
According to an official from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the meeting, which is private sector driven, has the support of both the governments. CII will represent Indian industry in the Council. The Council consists of fifteen representatives from the two countries. The Indian delegation will be headed by Mr. Sunil K. Munjal while the Pakistan delegation will be led by Syed Yawar Ali, chairman at Nestle Pakistan Ltd. The Indian delegation is also expected to meet Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, and his senior cabinet colleagues.
India-Pakistan business council to discuss MFN, visa, Tapi pipeline, Business Standard, June 26, 2013
India-Pakistan Business meet on June 29A conference of top businesspersons from India and Pakistan will take place in Islamabad on June 29, 2013. The Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad is co-ordinating with Pakistan’s commerce ministry regarding the hosting of the conference. While the Pakistan delegation will be led by Mia Muhammad Mansha, there is little information on who will lead the Indian delegation. The Indian delegation is also expected to meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, during the visit to request him to accord India the Most Favoured Nation status. A decision to do so had been taken by the previous PPP government but strong opposition from the agricultural, pharmaceutical, automotive and textile sectors had ensured that it was unable to implement its decision.
June 18, 2013
Ambani, other tycoons likely to attend: Pak India business meet on June 29, Business Recorder, June 19, 2013
Pakistan, India hold talks on electricity tradeDiscussions were held between India and Pakistan on a proposal for the export of 500 MW of electricity from India to Pakistan and to set up a high-voltage, direct current link between the two countries. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Water and Power, Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif. The Indian side, consisting of a five-member expert group on trade in electricity, was headed by the Joint Secretary (Transmission), Ministry of Power, India. A press release issued after the meeting said that the transmission lines would link a grid in India to one in Pakistan. The meeting was followed by a detailed discussion between expert groups from the two countries.
June 11, 2013
Pakistan, India discuss electricity trade deal, Associated Press of Pakistan, June 11, 2013
India offers to extend gas pipeline to ease Pakistan energy crisisAn official delegation from India will reach Lahore on June 9 to offer natural gas supply to Pakistan to help ease its energy crisis. The supply will be made by extending an existing gas pipeline from Jalandhar to the Wagah border from where Pakistan can take it to its users. The gas, amounting to 1.5 million tonnes per annum, will be sourced by India from Qatar and offered without charging a marketing premium. The decision to make the offer was reportedly made at the top level of government two days before Mr. Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as Pakistan’s Prime Minister. An official of the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) said that this would be a test case before India entered into an agreement with Pakistan for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline.
June 6, 2013
To ease Pak energy crisis, India sends officials with pipeline offer, The Indian Express, June 7, 2013
FIEO calls for direct access to Pakistan Gold marketThe Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO) has requested the government to take steps to ensure a direct access to Pakistan’s gold jewellery markets to compensate for its export deficit to European countries. In its recent report on “Export Competitiveness of Gujarat-Vision 2020”, FIEO says that direct access to Pakistan’s jewellery markets will partly compensate for the export deficit to European countries, which has declined significantly due to the ongoing economic crisis in the euro zone region. Since direct access to Pakistan’s jewellery market is not allowed, gold exports are being routed through third countries such as Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and other Asian countries.
May 30, 2013
Indian trade body seeks direct access to Pakistan Gold markets, Bullion Street, May 30, 2013
Bodies on trade liberalisation with IndiaThe new government in Pakistan is seriously considering the import of 1000 MW of electricity from India as part of a short to medium-term strategy to help overcome a crippling power shortage in the country, according to a Press Trust of India report. An unnamed official of the World Bank in Pakistan is said to have confirmed that a feasibility study had been done for exploring the import of electricity from India.
May 22, 2013
According to him, the import of electricity could begin within the next two years, during which feasibility studies would be conducted, prices negotiated and a transmission line built. Although there is no energy-sharing mechanism in place in the region, India and Pakistan have been working towards co-operation in the energy sector.
Bodies on trade liberalisation with India, Pakistan Observer, May 22, 2013
Pakistan considering import of 1000 MW of electricity from IndiaThe new government in Pakistan is seriously considering the import of 1000 MW of electricity from India as part of a short to medium-term strategy to help overcome a crippling power shortage in the country, according to a Press Trust of India report. An unnamed official of the World Bank in Pakistan is said to have confirmed that a feasibility study had been done for exploring the import of electricity from India. According to him, the import of electricity could begin within the next two years, during which feasibility studies would be conducted, prices negotiated and a transmission line built. Although there is no energy-sharing mechanism in place in the region, India and Pakistan have been working towards co-operation in the energy sector.
May 22, 2013
New Pakistan govt may consider importing electricity from India, The Times of India, May 22, 2013
Pakistan-India Joint Business Council to meet in Lahore todayThe newly established ‘Pakistan India Joint Business Council’ will have its first meeting in Lahore on 17th May 2013, according to the Chairman of the Pakistan- India Business Council, Noor Muhammad Kasuri. The council will discuss the way forward regarding trade integration between India and Pakistan and prepare the agenda for a joint meeting to be held in July 2013 with Indian counterparts.
May 17, 2013
Pak-India trade normalization process needs to be on steady track, Pakistan Observer, May 17, 2013
Pakistan’s Commerce Ministry asked to submit status report on MFN status to IndiaPakistan’s commerce ministry has reportedly been asked in the first cabinet meeting of the presumptive government led by Mr. Nawaz Sharif to submit a most favoured nation (MFN) status report that summarises measures to liberalise trade with India.
May 17, 2013
In February 2012, the previous government had decided to move from a positive list (items that could be imported) to a negative list (items whose import is banned) of items from India and eventually move to phasing out of this negative list which would grant MFN status to India. But, Pakistan has missed its deadline to grant India MFN status, because of protests by the farmer’s lobby, the Jamaat ut Dawa headed by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and the automobile and pharmaceutical sectors.
The move to ask for a status report could be interpreted as a reflection of the seriousness of Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s declared intention, soon after his party emerged victorious in the recently held parliamentary elections in Pakistan, to move towards normalising ties with India.
However, rumblings against the move have already begun with analysts claiming that the grant of MFN status to India would result in a drop in foreign direct investment in Pakistan. Pakistan’s commerce ministry itself has argued that granting MFN status to India without putting infrastructure into place at the Wagah border would result in little benefit to consumers in Pakistan.
MFN status to India: Commerce ministry told to submit summary, Business Recorder, May 17, 2013
Sharp surge in India Pakistan trade in fiscal 2012-13There was a 21 per cent increase in bilateral trade between India and Pakistan in the fiscal year 2012-13, with total trade touching the 2.4 billion mark during the period. The latest figures released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Government of India, which were released on Monday, show that the volume of bilateral trade recorded a net increase of $410 million from April last year to March this year. Pakistan’s exports to India grew 28% while Indian exports to Pakistan increased 19%. The sharp rise in India’s imports from Pakistan comes at a time when India’s overall imports rose by a negligible 0.3 per cent. Total bilateral trade between the two countries touched the $2.4 billion mark.
May 16, 2013
According to an official statement released by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan’s exports to India in the last fiscal year (April 2012-March 2013) reached $513 million. Metalliferous ores and metal scrap, organic chemicals, raw cotton and leather were among the commodities that contributed significantly to the increase. India’s exports to Pakistan in the same period increased $300 million, a growth of 19%. Total Indian exports to Pakistan stood at $1.84 billion, putting the trade balance in favour of India.
Trade between India and Pakistan surges 21% to $2.4b, Pakistan Times, May 16, 2013
India to join the IP gas pipeline projectSix years after withdrawing from the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project, India has indicated its willingness to join the project. In 2007, India and Pakistan had agreed to pay a price of $5 per million British thermal unit (mmbtu), but India had withdrawn from the project over price and security concerns. The gas price under the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline project is now being offered at around $11 per mmbtu. According to officials in Pakistan, no discussions have taken place between India and Pakistan on the issue of transit fees but Pakistan expects that the annual fee would range between US$400 million and US$500 million. If the project is extended to India, the length of the pipeline would be 2500 kms of which 1100 kms would be in Iran, 800 kms in Pakistan and 600 kms in India. According to an official of the National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) working on the project, the company has already designed the pipeline corridor for extending the pipeline to India.
May 9, 2013
India willing to join IP gas pipeline, Business Recorder, May 9, 2013
Coal India offers to buy Thar coalCoal India Limited has offered assistance to Pakistan to extract lignite from Thar as well as assistance to set up a lignite-based mega power plant there. During the ongoing discussions on how to mine a difficult but vast deposit of lignite between the Coal India subsidiary Central Mine Planning and Development Design Institute (CMPDIL) and the Pakistan-based Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), Coal India proposed two options. These were for Coal India to either buy the coal at international prices or buy electricity from the proposed power plant against the sale of coal. SECMC plans to setup a 1,200MW coal-based power plant in Thar and conduct open cast mining of coal, with an investment of $3 billion. The SECMC is a joint venture between the government of Sindh and Engro Powergen, set up to mine coal from Thar Bloc II.
May 1, 2013
Coal India offers to buy Thar coal, set up power plant, Pakistan Today, May 1, 2013
India to discuss extension of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipelineThe oil ministers of India and Iran are scheduled to meet this week to discuss the possible extension of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to India. The Iranian oil minister, Mr. Rostam Qassemi, is slated to visit India in the week beginning April 29 to hold discussions with the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr. Veerappa Moily. The pricing formula and the security of the pipeline are expected to be the main issues that will be discussed. There has been considerable progress on the pipeline with 900 km of the pipeline already having been laid in Iran and Iranian contractors having begun work on the Pakistani section of the pipeline.
April 29, 2013
Iran, India to discuss extension of IP gas pipeline next week, Pakistan Today, April 29, 2013
Pakistan seeks help from Coal India to mine coal in the Thar DesertSindh Engro Coal Mining Co, a joint venture between Pakistan’s Sindh government and Engro Corp, has started discussions with Central Mine Planning and Design Institute, a subsidiary of Coal India Limited, to help it mine economically and efficiently what is considered one of the world’s largest lignite deposits in the Thar Desert. The mine, spread over 95 sq km and holding reserves of 2 billion tonne, is considered difficult to mine. The coal in the mine is not fit for transportation and Pakistan is looking at mouth-of mine applications like coal gasification or coal liquefaction, for which it does not have the expertise.
April 29, 2013
Pakistan is estimated to have total coal reserves of 200 billion tones, which is close to India’s estimated reserves of 276 billion tonnes. However, Pakistan has not been able to exploit the coal so far. Pakistan faces an acute shortage of electricity and with no new large gas finds in the recent past, it is looking at establishing coal-based electricity generation. Sindh Engro has also got in touch with companies like Tata Power and Bharat Heavy Electricals for technology transfer.
Pakistan seeks Coal India help to mine Thar, DNA, April 29, 2013
India-Pakistan business leaders meetBusiness leaders from India and Pakistan met in New Delhi under the umbrella of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC-CCI). Discussions centred on drawing up an agenda to enhance bilateral trade relations between the two countries and regional co-operation in SAARC. This is the second such meeting over the past two weeks. The Pakistani business delegation met the incumbent SAARC-CCI President, Mr. Vikram Jit Singh Sahnay and other business leaders. The discussions were on core business, according to a report in the Express Tribune.
April 21, 2013
Cross-border: Pakistan, India discuss trade opportunities.
Express Tribune, April 21, 2013
Pakistan wants India to help train teachersPakistan Directorate of Staff Development in Lahore has requested the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) to provide it with teacher training methods and research material available with various teachers’ training institutes. It has also requested a presentation on the functioning and responsibilities of the National Council of Educational Research and Training, and the role of the NCTE in the continuing professional development programme. NCTE has forwarded the request to the central government for political clearance. The human resource development ministry has called for details on the matter from NCTE.
April 21, 2013
Pakistan seeks India's help in training its teachers
Process for granting group visas initiatedWithin a fortnight of introducing visa on arrival for senior citizens from Pakistan, India has initiated the process of giving group tourist visas. The move comes a month after the originally scheduled date of March 15 for launching the facility. India has identified 18 tour and travel operators and has sent the list to the Pakistan Home Ministry. According to Indian Home Ministry officials, India is awaiting a response from Pakistani authorities on the list. Under the new liberalised visa agreement signed between the two countries in September last year, group tourist visa would be offered for a period of 30 days to tourists travelling in groups with not less than 10 members and not more than 50 members, organised by approved tour operators or travel agents on a reciprocal basis.
April 12, 2013
India has begun process of group tourist visa for Pakistanis: IBN Live
Pakistan’s exports to India increased July-February 2013Pakistan’s trade deficit with India declined in the period July-February 2012-13 when exports rose by 5 per cent increase and imports declined by 2.4 per cent, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data. Pakistan’s overall exports to India increased from $15.128 billion in July-February to $15.884 billion during July-February 2012-13. On the other hand, the imports decreased from $29.788 billion last year to $29.069 billion during the current fiscal year, showing negative growth of 2.41 percent, the data revealed.
April 6, 2013
Daily Times, Pakistan (6 April 2013)
Visa on arrival for senior citizens startedThe facility of grant of visa on arrival for senior citizens from Pakistan, which had been put on hold hours before it was due to start on January 15, was started on April 1 on a reciprocal basis by India. Under the facility, senior Pakistani citizens, above the age of 65, can now get their visa on arrival at the Attari-Wagah check-post. The single entry visa will be granted for a maximum stay of 45 days.
April 6, 2013
No decision, however, has been taken on the issue of the group tourist visa facility that was to have begun on March 15 but was stalled following the build up of border tensions.
India and Pakistan had signed a liberalised visa regime in September last year to ease cross-border travel as part of confidence-building measures.
Times of India, April 6, 2013 (Print version)
Ludhiana to learn solid waste management from Lahore local bodyLudhiana Municipal Corporation is in discussions with a three-member team of Lahore Waste Management Company to improve solid waste management systems in the city. The Pakistani team is in Ludhiana on the invitation of Punjab government. Mr. A. S. Sekhon, joint commissioner in-charge of Ludhiana health and sanitation wing, pointed out that Lahore’s solid waste management is considered to be among the best in Asia, particularly in terms of mechanical sweeping and washing of roads, and the use of sprinklers. These are among the various aspects of solid waste management that are being discussed to improve the system in Ludhiana.
April 5, 2013
Pakistan team’s visit follows a similar visit by Mr. R. S. Verma, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation Commissioner, to Lahore a few days ago.
The Indian Express (5 April 2013)
More decisions in coming weeks to improve India-Pakistan tradePakistan’s High Commissioner, Mr. Salman Bashir, said that Pakistan would take more decisions in the coming weeks and months to improve trade ties with India. Speaking at a meeting organised by ASSOCHAM, Mr Bashir, expressed satisfaction at the progress made in term of economic and trade co-operation between the two countries.
March 28, 2013
ASSOCHAM to host Pakistan business delegationPakistan will host a 30-member business delegation of the Pakistan-based Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce from on March 28. A business session is being organised by ASSOCHAM to facilitate business-to business meetings between businesspersons from the two countries. ASSOCHAM had recently released a study that identified areas of co-operation between the two countries. The chamber said exports of commodities like coffee, tea, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and automobiles to Pakistan, while imports of fruits, vegetables, organic and inorganic chemicals and mineral fuels from Pakistan could help in boosting bilateral trade.
March 26, 2013
Shift to rail-based containerised movement of goods between India and Pakistan proposedIndia has proposed a shift to rail-based containerised movement of goods between India and Pakistan to reduce transaction costs and give a fillip to bilateral trade. Speaking at a two-day conference on ‘Normalising India-Pakistan Trade’, the union railways minister, Mr. Pawan Kumar Bansal, pointed out that the move would also reduce the burden on the road sector. At present, there are two rail link points – Attari in Punjab and Munnabao in Rajasthan. Apart from initiating negotiations on the containerisation issue, Mr. Bansal also suggested that India and Pakistan should work together to development technology solutions in the railway sector to meet the common needs of the two countries. He pointed out that both India and Pakistan have agreed to be part of the UN project of a trans-Asia Railway Network as part of the long-term strategy to develop their economies.
March 15, 2013
India-Pakistan Joint Business Council formedThe India-Pakistan Joint Business Council was formally notified by the Indian government on Friday. The council will seek to increase investment and bilateral trade between the two countries besides facilitating tie-ups between entrepreneurs from the two countries. The council is being set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and will have 15 industrialists each from India and Pakistan. Mr. Sunil K. Munjal of Hero Motocorp Ltd. will be the co-chairperson of the council from the Indian side.
March 15, 2013
Pakistan has named 15 members to the council. Included in the list are Bashir Ali Muhammad, the chairman of Gul Ahmed Textiles, Lucky Cement CEO Muhammad Ali Tabba, Habib Bank President and CEO Nauman Dar, Iftikhar Ali Malik, the owner of the Guard Group of Companies, Farmers Associates president Muhammad Tariq Bucha and Pakistan-India Business Council chairman Noor Muhammad Kasuri. A notification to this effect has already been issued by the Pakistan Ministry of Commerce.
The idea for a joint business council was first mooted in April 2011 during the first commerce secretary level talks. The duties and responsibilities of the council are yet to be worked out. The council is expected to hold its first meeting in August and will meet at six-monthly intervals thereafter. Apart from identifying ways to ease business dealings between the two countries, the council is also expected to advise the government by making recommendations on ways to increase two-way trade.
Group visas may be put on holdThe grant of group visas for to Pakistani nationals, scheduled to be introduced on March 15, may be put on hold, according to a Press Trust of India report that quotes a senior home ministry official. Earlier, the government had put on hold the grant of visas to senior citizens hours before it was due to be operationalised on January 15 following border skirmishes in January. The continued freeze in bilateral relations is said to be the reason for this. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in the middle of last week made it clear that the killing of Indian soldiers during the border tensions had cast a shadow over the process of normalising relations between the two countries. He had also expressed disappointment at what he called the lack of tangible progress in dismantling the terror infrastructure in Pakistan.
March 10, 2013
MFN status to India by Pakistan to be left to the next regimeThe incumbent government in Pakistan has decided to leave the issue of granting MFN status to India to the next administration that will take over after elections to the Pakistan Parliament in May this year, reports The Press Trust of India quoting sources in Islamabad. Earlier, Pakistan had announced that it would grant India MFN status by December 31, 2012. India granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996.
March 6, 2013
The decision to hold off granting the MFN status to India comes in the wake of intense lobbying against the move by some industries, opposition hardliners and extremists groups like the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and the Defa-e-Pakistan Council.
Banking channels to be established between India and PakistanBanking channels will be established between India and Pakistan once the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) opens its branch in Delhi or Mumbai, according to the President of NBP, Dr. Asif Brohi. Dr. Brohi said that the NBP had already applied to the Reserve Bank of India for permission to set up the branch. Formal approval from the RBI is still pending. The opening of the branch is expected to give a fillip to trade between the two countries.
February 23, 2013
India gets the go-ahead on the Kishenganga projectA court of arbitration based in The Hague gave its go-ahead to New Delhi to divert water from Kishenganga or Neelum rivers to build a hydro-electric project in Baramullah district of Jammu and Kashmir.
February 19, 2013
Islamabad had in 2010 sought arbitration by an international court on its dispute with New Delhi over the 330MW Kishenganga Hydro Electric Project (KHEP), which the National Hydro-Power Corporation Limited is building in Baramullah district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Islamabad had argued before the Court of Arbitration in The Hague that the KHEP would adversely hit power generation at the 969MW Neelum Jhelum Hydro Electric Project (N-JHEP), which it had been building downstream on the same river in the Pakistani side of the Line of Control. Claiming that Islamabad had consistently failed to substantiate its claim of downstream uses of the water of Kishenganga or Neelum, India had argued before the international Court of Arbitration that Pakistan had failed to demonstrate its commitment to the realisation of the N-JHEP.
India-Pakistan trade to touch $12 billion if India granted MFN status, says AssochamAssocham, one of India's apex industry chambers, has said in a statement that India-Pakistan trade could touch $12 billion by 2015, five times the level in 2010-11, if Pakistan granted MFN status to India. The products that the chambers identifies as having good export potential are sugar, cotton, coffee, spices, tea, petroleum products, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals and fertilisers from India and mineral fuels, chemical and woollen products from Pakistan. The chambers also said that India could help meet demands of the automotive market in Pakistan by exporting components and spare parts at a lower price. Further, it said that trade of electricity might open a new era of regional co-operation between the neighbours as India can export about 500 mega watts of electricity.
February 7, 2013
Assocham's secretary general, Mr. D.S. Rawat, has called for focus on institutional agreements to develop transportation through sea routes, establishing state-of-the-art check posts for quick customs clearance and easing visa requirements to boost trade between the two countries.
India-Pakistan trade liberalisation process to continueIndia will not suspend discussions on the trade liberalisation process with Pakistan because of the recent border tensions, but further liberalisation has to be initiated by Pakistan, said an Indian government official. He pointed out that Pakistan had not lifted the ban on all Indian goods as it has not yet granted India MFN status though the deadline for this was December 31, 2012. It has also not allowed trade of all goods through the land route as promised. Dismissing the sentiment expressed by Pakistani trade ministry officials that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent statement that it could not be business as usual following the recent ceasefire violations gave the impression that India was not interested in carrying the trade talks forward, the official said that Pakistan had to first keep its part of the bargain before raising fresh concerns.
February 6, 2013
CMPDI help sought by Pakistan to develop lignite mineThe Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) has been approached by a Pakistan-based company to explore and develop a lignite mine in Pakistan. The mine is located close to the Indian border. The Pakistani company had approached CMPDI through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
February 4, 2013
According to the Chairman and Managing Director of CMPDI, Mr. A.K. Debnath, discussions with the company are moving in a positive direction. A senior official of the company has been quoted as saying that there was a high possibility of CMPDI bagging the order because it quoted reasonable rates for consultancy. A German company that the Pakistani company had approached earlier quoted a consultancy rate that was at least 10 times higher than CMPDI's quote. The other factors likely to tip the deal in favour of the Indian company are the similarities between the two countries and the location of the mine.
Pakistani business associations intend to woo Indian entrepreneursIndustry associations and businessmen in Pakistan are planning to host four summits this year to woo Indian entrepreneurs despite growing tensions across the border. Mr. Muhammed Azfar Ahsan, chief executive officer of Nutshell Forum, the organisation that plans to organise these events, announced that these summits would include an India-Pakistan strategic summit in Karachi in the coming months and a summit in New Delhi. Although many businesspersons, who were part of the Pakistan’s delegation to the recently held global partnership summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in Agra recently, cancelled their visit following the decision of Pakistan’s trade minister, Mr. Makhdoom Amin Fahim, not to attend the business meet, three Pakistani delegates who did attend emphasised the Pakistani business community’s desire to improve trade relations with India. 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 Pakistan does not allow direct export of several Indian merchandise. For Pakistan, good trade ties with India will ensure a steady supply of high quality raw material, technology and research and development that will help in the expansion of business.
February 3, 2013
India-Pakistan Joint Working Group on sharing TV programmesA joint working group on information, consisting of officials from the Indian and Pakistani information and broadcasting ministries, is working on the mutual sharing of TV programmes between the TV channels of the two countries. This information was provided by Pakistan's Information Minister Mr Qamar Zaman Kaira in a written reply to a question raised in Pakistan's National Assembly. At present, Indian TV channels do not air Pakistani programmes, mainly because the policy guidelines of India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry that allow only satellite TV Channels that are registered with and licensed by the Indian government to be downlinked and transmitted in India for public viewing. No Pakistani TV channel is registered with or licensed by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
February 2, 2013
No thaw in India-Pakistan relations: AntonyAlthough the tension on the border has dissipated, relations between India and Pakistan remain frosty. Indian Defence Minister Mr A.K. Antony on Friday ruled out the possibility of normalisation of relations anytime soon. He pointed out that while Pakistan had made many promises, it has not acted on these so far. "Our considered view is that we should not take any serious steps unless we are convinced that these promises are actually translated into action," he said.
February 2, 2013
Pakistan exports to India increase by 66 per cent in April-December 2012Pakistan's exports to India during April-December 2012 registered a growth of 66 per cent over the same period in 2011, according to figures from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics at India's Commerce Ministry. India’s exports to Pakistan increased by 16 per cent during the same period. Pakistan’s exports were valued at US$460 million, significantly higher than the exports of US$277 million in April-December 2011. The figure for the nine-month period was also significantly higher than the total exports in 2011-12, which was US$401 million. The latest figures show a doubling of Pakistan’s exports to India since 2009-10. Pakistan’s imports from India in April-December 2012 were only US$170 million, against an increase of US$183 million in the period. This is in sharp contrast to the fears expressed by Pakistani industrialists, especially in the agriculture, textile, automobile and pharmaceutical sectors, that trade liberalisation between the two countries would result in the swamping of Pakistan’s domestic market with Indian goods.
January 29, 2013
India-Pakistan bus and trade services resumedBus services between India and Pakistan in the Poonch sector in Kashmir, which had been suspended following border tensions in early January, was resumed on January 28. Trade services are expected to resume from Tuesday. On January 28, people stranded in POK and Kashmir returned home.
January 28, 2013
India-Pakistan to resume cross-border trade and travel from Jan. 28Official sources said that cross border trade and travel between India and Pakistan would resume on Monday, Jan 28. The services had been suspended following border clashes between the two countries. Official sources said that priority would be given to passengers stranded on both sides of the border.
January 27, 2013
Indo-Pak talks on water deferredTalks between the Water Secretaries of India and Pakistan, scheduled to be held in Islamabad during January 28-29, have been put off, according to the Press Trust of India. The two sides were scheduled to discuss the Tulbul navigation project-Wullar Barrage issue during the talks. No new schedules for the talks have yet been set. Media reports in Pakistan linked the deferment of the talks to the recent tensions on the border. However, reports from New Delhi claimed that the talks were postponed because D.V. Singh, the present Water Resources Secretary, was due to retire at the end of this month. This is the second bilateral interaction that has been put off. Earlier, Pakistan's Commerce Minister, Makhdoom Amin Fahin called off his visit. Mr. Fahin was to attend a business meet in Agra.
January 27, 2013
Pakistan likely to grant India MFN status by next monthPakistan's Minister of State for Commerce Abbas Khan Afridi told the country's Senate that Pakistan would grant India the Most Favoured Nation status next month. It has already missed the December 31, 2012 deadline to do so, primarily because of reservations expressed by various stakeholders, particularly industrialists from the textiles sector in Pakistan. The Pakistan government was also to have ended the negative list by that time. Once India is granted MFN status, it is expected that trade between the two countries would rise to between $6 billion and $7 billion.
January 24, 2013
Pak mulling LNG imports from IndiaPakistan is considering the possibility of importing 200 million cubic feet per day of regasified liquefied natural gas from India, according to a written reply submitted to the National Assembly. The proposal is being considered because existing gas reserves in Pakistan are expected to last only for the next 18 years.
January 22, 2013
Visa on entry scheme put on holdIndia has decided to put on hold the visa on arrival facility for senior citizens, which was due to have started on January 15, because of what it considered the unequal treatment meted out to Indians who want to visit Pakistan. Diplomatic circles say that while the Indian side wanted Pakistani nationals to produce only their national identity card and a utility bill as documents to issue visas on arrival, the Pakistan side wanted several documents including a sponsorship letter from Pakistan. Since the scheme was to be on a reciprocal basis, India decided to put on hold the operationalisation of the agreement signed in September 2012 to ease cross-border travel. No new date for operationalising the facility has been announced.
January 21, 2013
India-Pakistan trade to decline 20 per cent this fiscalIndustry chamber ASSOCHAM expects a 20 per cent decline in 2012-13 because of the current border tensions between the two countries. The two-way trade between the two countries in the first half of the current fiscal year stood at $1.1bn, according to a statement issued by the chamber. Sectors that it indicated may be affected include food processing, IT, textiles and sports goods. The chamber also expressed the fear that the tension between India and Pakistan could affect trade in the entire SAARC region.
January 20, 2013
Tea Delegation visit to Pakistan deferredTensions on the Indo-Pak border have led to the postponement of the visit of a delegation of the Indian Tea Association's to Pakistan. The Association chairman said that the visit is likely to take place in March if tensions ease by then. Pakistan has emerged as a major buyer of Indian tea, particularly of the South Indian variety. Export of tea to Pakistan was 25 million kgs in 2011; it is expected to be around 21 million kgs in 2012.
January 15, 2013
New Visa Agreement between India and Pakistan:A new visa agreement between India and Pakistan was operationalised on December 14, 2012. The agreement was signed on September 8, 2012 to facilitate travel from nationals of both countries
A key feature of the new agreement is the decision to issue visas on arrival at the Attari/Wagah check-post to nationals of both counties above the age of 65 years for a single entry. The visa will be valid for a period of 45 days. The facility will be available from January 15, 2013. The number of places that can be visited has also been increased from three to five.
The time for which visa can be issued in exceptional cases has been raised from one to two years. This is applicable in the case of people above the age of 65 years, in cases of intermarriage between nationals of the two countries and in the case of children up to the age of 12 from such a marriage.
Businesspersons on a business visa with an annual income above Pak Rs. 5 million or equivalent or an annual turnover above Pak Rs.30 million or equivalent will be exempt from police reporting.
From 15th March, 2013, group tourist visas for 30 days will be issued for group travel organised by approved tour operators and travel agents. Such groups should have not less than 10 members and not more than 50 members in each group.
Entry and exit from different designated immigration check posts will be allowed if indicated in the visa application. However, exit from Wagah/Attari on foot will not be allowed unless the entry was also on foot via Attari/Wagah.
Mr Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, visits PakistanMr Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, visited Pakistan from the 9-16th November 2012 at the invitation of the chief ministers of Punjab and Sind in Pakistan. During his week long visit, Mr Kumar visited Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. He also paid his respects at the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and visited places of historical interests including Taxila and Mohenjo-daro.
Mr Kumar was hosted by Pakistan's President, Mr Asif Ali Zardari, for a special Diwali dinner and reception. He also met with Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's former Prime Minister.
Mr Kumar shared the 'Bihar growth story' with politicians in Pakistan while noting the success of poverty alleviation and women's empowerment programmes in Pakistan. Underscoring the common heritage of India and Pakistan, he said that the foundation for future diplomatic, economic, and inter-personal exchange between the two lay in the shared history and heritage.
Mr Kumar's visit came after a similar visit by Punjab's deputy Chief Minister, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, earlier in November.
Investment and BankingOn 1st August 2012, India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) amended the Consolidated FDI policy, thereby allowing investment from Pakistan into India for all sectors other than space, defence and atomic energy. Thereafter, on 22nd August 2012, RBI issued a circular allowing investment from Pakistan in India's financial sector and permitting Pakistan's citizens and corporations to purchase shares and debentures of Indian companies. In a further move to enhance trade and investment, on 7th September 2012, RBI allowed overseas direct investment by Indian parties in Pakistan. However, all inward and outward investments require prior approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.
In addition, India and Pakistan agreed to allow two banks each from both sides to open bank branches across the border. The Indian banks that have been allowed to operate in Pakistan are State Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of India (BOI), whereas the National Bank of Pakistan and the United Bank Limited have been allowed to open bank branches in India.
Bilateral Visa Agreement and Cross- LoC Travel and TradeOn 8th September 2012, during the Ministerial level India- Pakistan meetings, the Bilateral Visa Agreement was signed in Islamabad by India's External Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna and Pakistan's Interior Minister, Rehman Malik. The aim was to liberalize the bilateral visa regime by introducing measures to facilitate the ease of travel for businessmen and tourists.
The External Ministers of India and Pakistan also took decisions to improve Cross-Line of Control (LoC) travel and trade. It was decided to expand travel across the LoC to include visits for tourism and that both sides would speed up the process of clearing applications for cross LoC travel. Regarding trade across the LoC, it was decided to facilitate monthly meetings between traders on both sides and also to take steps to improve infrastructure for Cross- LoC trade. Trade across the Line of control was allowed in 21 items in October 2008 as a confidence building measure.
The 7th round of India-Pakistan talks on Commercial and Economic Co-operationThe 7th round of India-Pakistan talks on Commercial and Economic Co-operation were held during 20th -21st September 2012 at Islamabad, between India's delegation led by Commerce Secretary, S.R. Rao and Pakistan's delegation led by Commerce Secretary, Munir Qureshi.
One of the major decisions during these talks was that India would bring down its SAFTA sensitive list for Pakistan from 878 to 614 tariff lines (30 percent) before December 2012, after Pakistan notifies the removal of all restrictions on trade via the Wagah-Attari land route. Further it was decided that once Pakistan fully transitions to MFN status for India by December 2012, India would bring down the Sensitive List for Pakistan to 100 tariff lines by April, 2013.
During these talks, three significant agreements were also signed- Redressal of trade grievances agreement, Mutual Recognition Agreement and Customs Cooperation Agreement and it was agreed that rules and procedures to fully implement these agreements would be framed by the relevant authorities.
The Commerce Secretaries also highlighted the need to take initiatives to facilitate trade at the Integrated Check Post at Attari through mutual cooperation and thus it was decided that the ICP would now be operational for seven days a week.
The 8th round of talks are scheduled to take place in India in April 2013.