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MFN status to India delayed due to reservations by industry: Pakistan

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Islamabad:

Pakistan has delayed the grant of Most Favoured Nation-status to India along with abolition of a negative trade list regime "for a short time" because of reservations expressed by several industries, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim has said.

"The process of (phasing out) the negative list and granting MFN-status has been delayed for a short time. The reason for the delay was reservations of various industries about protecting the interest of local manufacturers," Mr Fahim said.

He said the decision to delay the phasing out of the negative list and the grant of MFN-status was made after he had discussed the issue with his Indian counterpart.

"I talked to Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on the issue and he understands the issue and agreed to the delay for a short time," he said.

The Pakistan government is taking steps to address the reservations expressed by some domestic industries over the grant of MFN-status to India, Mr Fahim told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry over the weekend.

He said he could not give a fresh date for granting MFN-status to India. A final decision would be made by the cabinet, he added.

Pakistan had earlier said it would phase out the negative list regime by December 31, paving the way for MFN-status to be granted by the New Year.

The negative list allows commerce in all but 1209 items.  Islamabad had earlier missed another deadline for removing restrictions on trade through the land route before end of October, 2012.

Story first published on: December 31, 2012 18:36 (IST)

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