Top business leaders from India, Pakistan will meet at 4th IPJBF

NEW DELHI - Business leaders of India and Pakistan will meet here on August 7 and 8 to take stock of the progress in all sectors of bilateral trade and investment cooperation.

They will interact under the fourth India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum (IPJBF). This will be the first meeting of the body after the new government came to power in India.

This is a private sector-led body but notified by both the governments. The forum will meet under the aegis of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Pakistan Business Council (PBC).

Top business leaders from both sides will have representatives at the meeting.

IPJBF has identified 10 areas of cooperation: Agriculture; automotive and engineering; chemical and petrochemicals; infrastructure; pharmaceuticals; information technology; textiles; education and vocational training; healthcare, and dispute resolution and trade facilitation.

The thrust areas of this meeting will be non-discriminatory markets access, relaxing business visa regime and easing of non-tariff barriers.

"Political problems aside, business communities on both sides are eager to move ahead. This is because both countries need each other and can act as a gateway to the vast South Asian and Southeast Asian markets," a top executive told Business Standard on condition of anonymity.

The forum first met in June 2013 in Islamabad, then in October 2013 in New Delhi and in Lahore in February this year.

The meeting would be chaired by Sunil Kant Munjal of Hero Corporate Services from India. The Pakistani side would be led by Syed Yawar Ali Shah, former CEO of Nestle Pakistan.

The forum is an outcome of the India-Pakistan trade normalisation dialogue that started in April 2011 and has met regularly since its inception despite changes in government in both countries. However, the forum was yet to produce any concrete results.

Meanwhile, foreign secretaries of both countries are scheduled to meet on August 25 in Islamabad, where the issue of granting India the most favoured nation (MFN) status would be taken up, among several other issues of bilateral importance.


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