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MFN uncertainty: India to await outcome in Pak polls

April 10, 2013 20:00 IST

As uncertainty over the timeframe in granting of Most Favoured Nation to it by Pakistan continues, India today said it has to wait for the May 11 general elections' outcome there even as the Pakistani government had assured it that the process was "on track".

"That is what we have been told by the current government during official discussions. They have assured us that the process is on track regarding the decision which they have taken that India would be granted MFN status. We have to wait for the elections' outcome," a top government official said.

Asked what was the status now, given that Pakistan was poll-bound, he said, "That is what the government said. They said they were moving forward towards that decision but now that the elections have been announced, we have to wait for the election outcome".

Pakistan has been postponing implementation of its decision to grant MFN treatment to India and several deadlines have been crossed without its enforcement due to domestic political compulsions.

Elections in Pakistan are scheduled to be held on May 11. The neighbouring country had missed the deadline of December 31, 2012 for granting the status to India.

Since then, several Pakistani federal ministers have said that the move to grant MFN status had been delayed so that the government could hold consultations with industries that have expressed their reservations about the move.

The two countries have taken several steps to normalise trade relations since they resumed their peace process in 2011 after a gap of over two years in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

The two sides had last time agreed to increase bilateral trade from the current level of about two billion dollars to $6 billion by 2014. In March last year, Pakistan had moved to a negative list regime for trade from the positive list regime. This had opened the Pakistani market for about 7,000 Indian goods against about 2,000 earlier.

Pakistan had said that it would remove the negative list, which contains 1,209 items, by December 2012 -- technically which would have mean grant of MFN status to India.

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