Undeterred by the impasse in Pakistan between the government and its army, India’s commerce ministry has made it clear that it would go ahead with the plans to organise a “Made in India” show at Lahore in the second week of February. Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, who held a stock-taking meeting today with the ministry officials and representatives of industry, however, indicated that his ministry would continue to watch the developments taking place in Pakistan.
“Sharma said the show could happen, lest there be a change in leadership in Pakistan,” a source said.
According to the representative, the minister has asked his officials and industry bodies to complete the preparations for the proposed even in which representatives of different sectors have already expressed their desire to participate.
Another matter that came up for discussion, it is learned, is the issue of Pakistan’s move to grant a ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status to India.
This, when Pakistan has indicated that it would not be possible to do so before October this year.
The Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) said it was going ahead with its preparations for holding the Lahore show.
“A CEOs’ delegation will visit Pakistan next month,” according to Ficci director-general Rajiv Kumar. “We are, however, observing the situation to keep track of any further development.”
The industry official said India would showcase its strengths and invite Pakistani investors to the neighbouring country during the Made In India show. “The sectors we plan to market to the investors in Pakistan include ICT, manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture, automobile and auto ancillary and pharmaceuticals,” he said. At the same time, India would “explore opportunities” for joint ventures.
According to a recent Ficci study, the India-Pakistan trade amounts to less than 1 per cent of their respective global trade. However, the volumes of third-country trade and informal trade indicate the tremendous potential for bilateral trade between the two countries.
The two countries have imposed several restrictions on official trade, compelling both of them to import certain goods from far-off sources.
In fact, these are items they can easily import from each other. Such a bilateral trade would ensure cheaper raw materials and low transportation besides economical insurance cost — and all these would translate into quality goods at competitive prices for both the countries.