"The stability (in trade between India and Pakistan) can only come when there is a concept of value chain, when there is a sectoral cooperation, when there is a fully liberalized trade, when regional standards are harmonized and improvement in infrastructure for trade facilitation," Special Secretary in the Commerce Ministry Rajeev Kher said.

Kher, who was speaking at the ICRIER’s function here on 'Normalizing India-Pakistan Trade’, said in his ‘personal views’ these are the five-six areas where both the countries have to work hard to bring stability in their trade relationship.

Kher also said that both sides should stick to the roadmap of September 2012. As per the roadmap, Pakistan would remove restrictions on trade through land route and cut the number of items on the sensitive list in a phased manner.

"You have a roadmap and I think the biggest thing which is important today is to respect that roadmap because that will give an unemotional hard core trade oriented signal," he added.

During the last week meeting of Commerce Ministers of India and Pakistan, both the sides agreed on a non-discriminatory market access programme in place of the MFN regime, besides opening up Wagah-Attari border round the clock to enhance bilateral trade.

Kher asked Pakistan to remove its apprehension over opening of sectors like automobile, pharmaceutical and agriculture.      

"India does not have non-tariff barriers specific to a country in South Asia," he added.

Kher further said there is a need to strengthen the regional integration of South Asian countries to improve bilateral relations.

Citing examples of strong regional blocs like European Union, ASEAN and NAFTA, he said that SAARC will have to do tremendous work in making itself a strong group.

"The intra-SAARC trade is very low in terms of regional integration. There are reasons which lie in history and non - tariff barriers...there are also reasons which need to go into some more thinking on how do we want to shape this region on trade and investment issues over the next 10-15 years," he added.

Kher emphasized on the need for sectoral integration among the SAARC region.

"Huge amount of goods and services would be required in the years to come for domestic consumption within the region and this is not going to grow in one country. It will be produced in the entire region," he said.

The bilateral trade between India and Pakistan stood at USD 2.6 billion in 2012-13 as against USD 1.93 billion in 2011-12 and USD 2.37 billion in 2010-11.

(Agencies)

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