An immediate fall-out of India’s decision to revoke MFN status to Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack is that the Indo-Pak trade worth Rs 17,000 crores has come under shadow.India granted MNF status to Pakistan back in 1996 but Pakistan never gave India one. Pakistan did talk about giving India the status in 2012 but later refused. Withdrawal of MFN status to Pakistan, while completely understandable under the tragic the circumstances of the terrorist Pulwama attack, has major implications on trade between the neighbouring countries.
Amritsar-based Gunbir Singh, former CII president, said fiscal bons between the two countries, popularly called in the business jargon as “fiduciary” would take a direct hit.” But for us nation and nation’s security is far too important and valuable”, he added.Though Pakistan permits only 138 products to be imported from India through Wagah/Attari border land route and has time and again refused to give India the status, India has always maintained a substantial trade surplus with Pakistan. It should be noted that the World Bank has said that trade between Pakistan and India was valued at a little over $2.4 billion, but it could go as high as $37bn.
Gunbir said the peace loving individuals of both the sides get affected as well. He laid stress on the fact that the trading community of both the nations will always want peace .He believed the potential for trade among the countries was as huge as $70 billion and had expected the trade not to stop only at Pakistan but exceed to Afghanistan as well from the Wagah trading post though unfortunately, that never happened due to Pakistan never giving India the status of MNF.
India giving the MFN status to Pakistan was more of global aspect saying how we, as a country are ready to maintain good relations and peaceful commerce with Pakistan but now, after over 2 decades, Pakistan has never reciprocated.Total trade among the countries was up to $2.41 billion, about 0.4 per cent of India’s overall trade, in the year 2017-2018 with exports to $1.92 billion and import to $488.5 million. India majorly exported cotton, dyes, chemicals, vegetables and iron and steel and imported fruits, cement, leather and spices from the neighbouring country. Pakistan’s exports to India have consistently been about a fourth of what it imports from India.
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