Karachi: The potential of trade between India and Pakistan is around $20 billion approximately against the current around $3bn, according to sources.
The non-trade barriers (NTBs) and bureaucratic hurdles are a slowdown of growth in the mutual trade.
A 2nd Regional Chambers of Commerce Roundtable conference held on Tuesday to establish India-Pakistan Trade relationship.
The conference was organized by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in collaboration with Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and Institute of Business Administration (IBA).
In the welcome address, FPCCI President Zubair Ahmed Malik hoped that impediments to Indo-Pak trade would be removed to boost bilateral trade.
ICRIER director and CE Dr Rajat Kathuria said that India was a closed economy back in 1983 when the institute was established.
ICRIER professor Dr Nisha Taneja said that unless the governments on both sides of the border bridge info asymmetries, trade potential will not be realised.
High Commissioner of India in Islamabad T.C.A. Raghavan in his message noted that trade between the two countries was growing.
He added that Pakistan’s exports to India have “shown a strong performance in the last financial year and crossed for the first time the half-a-billion-dollar mark”.
Besides the discussion on non-tariff barriers, three separate parallel discussions were held on banking, trade in textiles and trade in agriculture.
As for agriculture, separate routes for perishable goods and round-the-clock operational border were suggested.
In order to remove impediments related to banking, both countries, according to the participants, should make every effort to minimize delay in operations and raise visibility and documentation to make the process more transparent.
For removal of barriers in textile trade, it was suggested that both countries should harmonize their customs procedures, remove specific duties and engage constantly for better understanding of regulatory regimes.