NEW DELHI – India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha has said that Pakistan and India have no formal bilateral trade agreement despite New Delhi granted the MFN (most favoured nation) status to Islamabad in 1996 while Pakistan is yet to reciprocate.
The minister said that the grant of the MFN status to India would help in further boosting trade between the countries. In May, the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held that the two countries could move immediately towards full trade normalisation on the basis of the September 2012 roadmap, worked out between commerce secretaries from both the sides, Sitharaman said.
Pakistan has decided to postpone grant of the Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) status to India due to lack of consensus at home. NDMA is a nomenclature chosen by the Pakistan government to avoid political ramifications at home of giving India the MFN status. Bilateral trade between Pakistan and India touched $2.6 billion in 2012-13.
India's main exports to Pakistan include sugar, man-made filaments and chemicals, while its imports comprise mineral fuels, among others.