Formalities in this regard had already been worked out between the two countries, says High Commissioner to India.
LAHORE: Pakistan High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik said on Tuesday that a very liberal visa policy is likely to be put in place very soon.
Malik, while talking to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, said that all formalities in this regard had already been worked out between the two countries.
Malik said that as per new visa policy, Pakistani and Indian businessmen would get 10-destination one-year multiple visas, which would help increase the existing $2 billion two way trade volume to $6 billion in next three years.
Talking about the ongoing Pak-India meetings in the backdrop of the MFN status to India, Malik said that all core issues including Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, water and visa policy were very much part of the dialogue.
The Pakistan High Commissioner to India said that three new issues including import of electricity, petroleum products and BT cottonseed were added to the talk’s agenda.
Malik revealed that the issue of non-tariff barriers was at the top of the agenda and that New Delhi was very well committed to it.
“Indian Commerce Minister is likely to visit Pakistan in February 2012 and the visit would further strengthen trade relations between the two countries,” Malik said.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President said that the chamber understands that all possible efforts would be made by the government to ensure the removal of non-tariff barriers, before finally granting the MFN status to India.
Sheikh also said that reservations by certain sectors including pharmaceutical, automobile, motorcycle, petro-chemical, auto parts, sugar, textiles, cooking oil/ghee industries should be addressed first.
“Any step taken without addressing the concerns and fears of the private sector with regard to awarding the MFN status to India will only result in causing more problems to the domestic industry and economy overall,” Sheikh said.
The LCCI President said that there are complex domestic, political and security pressures on both sides, which have effects on the existing framework for bilateral trade.
“The business community in Pakistan strongly feels that despite having the MFN status granted by India, a great deal of non-tariff and para-tariff barriers are still in place,” the LCCI President said.
Sheikh also suggested that the Pakistan High Commission should organise fairs and exhibitions in India, in cooperation with Pakistan’s major chambers of commerce as such activities would provide a great opportunity to Pakistani businessmen to interact with their Indian counterparts.
He expressed hope that the Pakistan High Commission would continue to play its role for further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
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India, Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, MFN status, Shahid Malik
Liberal visa policy for Pakistan-India businessmen soon
Posted on December 21, 2011