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Trade talks begin; Pak asks India to have 'trust'

November 14, 2011 17:26 IST

Amidst high expectations by India on the MFN issue, Pakistan on Monday asked New Delhi to have "trust and faith" in it, as "times have changed" and Islamabad wants complete normalisation of the bilateral trade.

India said, there is a clear political desire to "walk the talk" with its neighbouring country.

The mutual assurances were handed out by Commerce Secretaries of the two countries, who began their two-day talks for ensuring normal bilateral trade.

Armed with a "political backing and mandate, Pakistan Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood said in his opening remarks , "I want to assure you that please have trust and faith in the process (normalisation of trade). Times have changed. World is coming closer".

Mahmood, who is having a second round of talks with his Indian counterpart in the last six months said, he is looking forward to the official level discussions "in a spirit of mutual cooperation and confidence".

In Pakistan, besides common people and businessmen, political leadership wants normalisation of bilateral trade, he added.

The Indian Commerce Secretary, while welcoming the Pakistan's decision to grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, said "expectations from these talks are running high..." as the people including business communities and politicians want a breakthrough and lay a foundation for preferential trading arrangements.

"With such clear political vision, we are now obliged to walk the talk," Khullar said.

India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996. Islamabad, had announced to grant the crucial WTO-compliant regime for New Delhi on November 2. But confusions followed. At present, Pakistan allows import of only about 1900 items from India.

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