New Delhi: The hurdles in the Indo-Pak bilateral trade seem to be easing out with both the countries agreeing to further dismantle the non-tariff barriers. Pakistan is also keen to allow Indian banks to open their branches in its country.

Addressing a programme organized by the Indian entrepreneurs in the national capital on Thursday, Pakistan Commerce Minister Mohammad Fahim assured of fulfilling the aims of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) between both the countries.

Fahim said, “India and Pakistan have agreed to scrap all the non-tariff barriers to boost bilateral trade.”

Significantly, Pakistan has always been raising the Kashmir issue while discussing trade with India.

Changing its old stand on bilateral trade, Fahim said, “Both India and Pakistan are engaged in  bolstering bilateral trade. The decision pertaining to increase the lists of Indian products will be taken soon.”

Fahim held discussion with his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma on Wednesday over normalization of bilateral trade.

Addressing a seminar organized by the FICCI, Sharma said, “The banking operation between both the countries will be resumed soon. The State Bank of India and the State Bank of Pakistan will hold discussion in this regard.”

Both countries agreed to jointly work towards doubling the bilateral trade to USD 6 billion annually from the current level of USD 2.7 billion by 2014.

(JPN/Bureau)