In an attempt to embark upon a high quantum trade regime between India and Pakistan and exploit the full potential of the Attari Integrated Check Post (IPC),a delegation led by Indian Commerce Secretary S R Rao on Wednesday crossed over to Pakistan from the Attari land border.
The agenda of talks scheduled on September 20 and 21 included urging Pakistan to allow trade of more items through the ICP and signing of agreements on customs cooperation,grievances redressal and industry standards.
At present,only 137 items are allowed for trade from the Attari land border. Pakistan has put a cap on trade of only 137 items. From the Indian side,there is no bar, Rao told The Indian Express in Amritsar after landing at Guru Ramdas Jee International Airport. He added that India wanted liberal trade regime at the ICP.
Pakistan already has reduced the list of banned items from 81 to 18 per cent as far as overall trade between the two countries is concerned. We want the liberalised trade regime to also be extended to Attari and more items are allowed for trade, Rao said.
In the customs cooperation agreement,the focus will be to address issues and bottlenecks related to customs issues at the check post. This will primarily benefit Pakistan,which was very keen on this,as traders from there complain of non-tariff barriers. Under the agreement,customs officials from both sides will be able to deliberate on issue at hand and resolve the same, said Arvind Mehta,Joint Secretary (Commerce),who was a part of the delegation.
Mehta added that under the grievance redressal agreement,issues like smuggling will be looked into. The third agreement will be on industry and quality standards of the goods that are traded between India and Pakistan.
Punjab Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh,who also accompanied the delegation,said: We want sports and cultural ties to flourish between the Indian and Pakistani Punjab and more people-to-people contact.