Final round of Indo-Pak secys talks likely in 2 months: Rao

Final round of Indo-Pak secys talks likely in 2 months: Rao

Chennai: The next round of Commerce secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan is likely to to be held in two months, a top official said today.

\”I will be going there (to Pakistan) to finalise the next steps (on the trading arrangement)…,\” Commerce Secretary S R Rao told reporters here.

The meeting was earlier scheduled in May but was deferred as Pakistan wanted more time on some issues.

Hopefully, the meeting would be held in Islamabad either

in August or September, Rao said.

He was here to chair a Open House meet organised by Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

FIEO President M Rafeeque Ahmed referred to the visa problems being faced by traders.

\”Currently, India imports about USD 300 million worth goods (from Pakistan) and exports products worth about USD two billion. It is in favour of India\”, Ahmed said.

India and Pakistan Commerce Ministers in a joint statement on April 13 had expressed desire that discussions may continue at the official level on possibilities of opening more land customs stations between the two neighbours.

It was also agreed that discussions would continue at the official level to draw a roadmap for further reductions in the SAFTA-sensitive lists.

Meanwhile, a media report from Pakistan today said Islamabad has decided to curb efforts to normalise trade relations with India.

\”Efforts to normalise trade with India have been dealt a serious blow, allegedly due to New Delhi¿s reluctance to reciprocate moves made by Islamabad to ease trade restrictions,\” the ‘Express Tribune’ said in a report.

Prospects of abolishing the negative list by December have \”considerably dimmed\”, sources in the Commerce Ministry told the daily.

It may be recalled that Pakistan had shifted from a positive list regime to a limited negative list regime to boost trade with India. (GNS)

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