The Indo-Pak trade through Attari land route in Amritsar registered a substantial increase in 2012-13 compared with 2011-12. While the imports grew 81 per cent, exports registered an increase of 122 per cent, showing the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari border inaugurated last year has boosted trade between the two.
According to the Customs, the total value of imports in 2012-13 was Rs 1,749 crore against Rs 965.18 crore in 2011-12. While the exports touched Rs 3,052 crore in 2012-13 compared with Rs 1,376 crore in 2011-12. The data also suggests the balance of trade is still in India’s favour.
Traders are upbeat and mentioned that the trade between the two countries would reach new heights with new government in Pakistan which is very proactive. Traders also anticipates that if the Pakistan grant MFN status to the India, trade will witness multifold increase in the coming year.
According to a study released Assocham, the opening up of the integrated check post at Attari-Wagah border and Pakistan’s granting the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India can increase the bilateral trade to eight billion dollars a year in the next two years from the current level of $2.6 billion.
It is worth noting that the Pakistan government has still not allowed trade of items freely from the Attari-Wagah land route despite it being the cheapest and shortest trade route. Currently, it had allowed import of only 137 items through Wagah land route. They are of the view that if Pakistan allows entire item about 7500 to be imported from Indian sides through Attari land route instead of 137 at present, trade will grow manifold.
It is worth mentioning that India mainly imports Cement, Gypsum, Dry Fruits, Rock Salt etc. from Pakistan and it exports meat, vegetables, soya meal , Raw Cotton, yarn etc. to Pakistan. The Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari border, Amritsar(Punjab) was inaugurated on April 13, 2012 to facilitate trade between India and Pakistan.