Want to build bridges of confidence
Sheikh Imran Bashir
Agence India Press
New Delhi: The Union Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister, Anand Sharma will be undertaking a substantive bilateral visit to Pakistan from 13th to 16th February on an invitation from his counterpart Minister Makhdoom Fahim, who had visited New Delhi in September last year.
This is the first substantive visit of an Indian Commerce Minister after India’s independence. He will be accompanied by over 100 Chief Executives from India and shall be travelling across the Wagah border by road. He will be received by the Pakistan Commerce Minister, Makhdoom Amin Fahim. Both the Ministers will be jointly inspecting the progress on the construction of second gate of the integrated check post at Wagah.
Speaking on his visit with the media, Sharma said, “We do hope that his visit will create a positive environment which will be appreciated and welcomed by both the sides. We will discuss all aspects of economic engagements; it is our hope that by taking the economic relations to higher level we will be creating an environment of trust and confidence”.
“We want to build bridges of confidence and trust which is imperative to promote two-way trade between the two countries,” said Sharma.
An array of legal and regulatory barriers has restricted official exchanges to $2.7 billion but Sharma said he was hopeful the sum would jump in the coming years.
“We hope to double this figure in a three-year period. Once direct trade through (the) land route is facilitated, there will be a manifold increase,” said Sharma, who will head a 120-strong delegation of business leaders and officials.
Yesterday, the India show was inaugurated in Lahore by Pakistan Commerce Minister which had over 400 Indian exhibitors displaying the best of Indian industry and services.
On 13th February the Closing Ceremony will be jointly addressed by Anand Sharma and Pakistan Commerce Minister. At Lahore, Anand Sharma shall also be meeting the Chief Minister and Governor of Punjab Province.
On 14th February, he shall be travelling to Karachi and jointly addressing the Business Conclave along with Pakistan Commerce Minister organized by Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CII and FICCI. He shall also be meeting the Chief Minister and Governor of Sindh.
On 15th February, Commerce, Industry & Textiles Minister will be leading a high level Inter-Ministerial delegation including Commerce Secretary, Secretary IPP, CMD ITPO, senior officers from Ministries of Home Affairs, External Affairs, Finance and Heavy Industries to Pakistan for substantive bilateral talks with Commerce Minister Makhdoom Fahim on a whole range of trade related issues.
They will review the progress of the road map for normalization of trade relations drawn up by the two Commerce Secretaries in April 2011 and the subsequent Ministerial meeting in New Delhi in September last year.
The Ministerial dialogue will cover a wide range of issues including the steps taken by Pakistan for grant of MFN status to India, progress made on strengthening of infrastructure for cargo movement on the land route, customs cooperation and mutual conformity of standards and grievance redressal. The investment policy regime of India which currently prohibits Pakistan investments into India is also likely to come up for discussion.
Sharma will also be calling on PM, Sayed Yusuf Raza Gillani and President, Asif Ali Zardari. He will also be addressing the 6th SAFTA Ministerial Council meeting in Islamabad on 16th February 2012. (AIP News)
Copyright © 2011 AIPTV. All rights reserved. http://agenceindiapress.com