Industry and business chambers hope that the new government in Pakistan will help further increase the two way trade and investments. These bodies estimate that the bilateral trade, which was $2.34 billion in the financial year 2012-13, is expected to increase 10-fold while India will be able to tap investment potential of over $50 billion in Pakistan.
Further, industry and business chambers believe that the Nawaz Sharif led government will also expedite process by Pakistan to grant most favoured nation (MFN) status to India. India exports mainly sugar and sugar confectionery and cotton; man-made filament yarn, organic chemicals, spices, tea, petroleum products, iron and steel while it imports fruits and vegetables, mineral fuels, organic and inorganic chemicals, woolen products from Pakistan.
“Return of Nawaz Sharif who wants to kick-start revival of Pakistani economy should be used as a fresh opportunity to cement the business and trade ties with India”, said D S Rawat, Secretary General Assocham. He further noted that India and Pakistan must increase the official trade and set a target of at doubling the bilateral trade in the current financial year. “While we urge Pakistan to grant us the MFN status, New Delhi should ensure that the trade balance which is largely skewed in favour of India should be corrected,” he added.
Rawat said Assocham’s recent study reveals that bilateral trade between India and Pakistan might clock over $12 billion by 2015 if Pakistan accords India with the coveted MFN status.
Arvind Pradhan, Director General, Indian Merchants' Chamber asserted that the democratic rule in Pakistan will strengthen the trade flows between India and Pakistan. “There is a strong possibility of doubling the trade from the current level of around $ 2 billion in a short span of time. With the coming of Nawaz Sharif, we strongly feel that MFN status will be accorded to India. However, that is not the only goal, as non tariff barriers from both sides must be reduced to increase the flow of trade,” he said.
On the other hand, CS Deshpande, director (research), World Trade Centre, Mumbai cautioned that no two way trade and investment can progress significantly unless Pakistan grants India the MFN status. “While we welcome the change in the government in Pakistan. We believe that a substantial rise trade and investment can boost the prosperity and peace in both countries but the onus clearly lies with Pakistan in strengthening the economic dialogue with India,” he opined.
Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI stated that “ Our view is that the more economic stake we create in other’s country the better it is for normalising relations and bringing people together. We will continue with these efforts in right earnest and work with our government as it moves ahead to chart a new course in the relations between our two countries.”