CUTS welcomes Pakistan’s move

May 02, 2011, Jaipur
“Pakistan’s move to provide most-favoured-nation status to India is a welcome step to enhance trade between the two nations. Trade officials of both the contries have done a commendable job at the recently held secretary-level talk,” said Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contrary to popular belief, enhanced trade between India and its neighbours will create more and more trade and investment opportunities for all countries leading to an increase in producer as well as consumer welfare. This is evident from the impact of India-Sri Lanka free trade agreement, which now includes trade in services and investment.
For more information, please contact:
Bipul Chatterjee, Deputy Executive Director, CUTS International, +91(0)9829285921,
Archana Jatkar, Deputy Head & Coordinator, CUTS CITEE, +91(0)9928207628,