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India-Pakistan trade talks on Tuesday


Islamabad, Jan 13:

India and Pakistan are set to resume secretary-level trade talks in New Delhi Jan 14, a media report said Monday.

According to a Dawn report, the meeting will only maintain the “momentum of talks” as part of the composite dialogue process.

The meeting starting Tuesday is likely to agree on fresh timelines for implementing the road map for removing bottlenecks in trade liberalisation, the report said.

Pakistan’s Minister of State for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan will arrive in the Indian capital Jan 16 to attend the Saarc business conclave starting Jan 17, it added.

The report, citing sources, described the meeting as a starter because it may not have political support to make any breakthrough on phasing out the negative list and non-tariff barriers.

Three issues are crucial for complete liberalisation of trade between India and Pakistan – opening of the Wagah-Attari border for importing more than 6,000 items from India as against the current 137, 24-hour clearance facility of goods at Wagah, and containerisation of cargo, the daily said.

The Pakistani government had decided in principle to agree on these issues, but it would be linked to reciprocal responses from India, an official was quoted as saying.

The official said before the general elections in India to be held this year, progress could be made only on these issues in the next few months.