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India and Pakistan to soon sign pact on customs, trade issues
September, 05th 2012

India and Pakistan will soon sign three agreements in areas of customs cooperation, mutual recognition of standards and redressal of trade issues, to enhance economic ties between the two countries.

Addressing a Pakistani Parliamentary Delegation here, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said bilateral trade between the two nations are well below the potential and there is a need to enhance it.

The memorandum of understanding on the three matters were signed during Sharma's visit to Islamabad in February.

"The agreements will be signed soon. It is a matter of weeks, maximum," he said.

He said some changes in the administration of both the nations and some delays in meetings have led to the delay in signing of these agreements. Commerce Secretaries of both the nations have changed.

These three pacts are aimed at streamlining trade between the countries. They seek to remove irritants that have prevented bilateral trade from realising its potential.

Sharma also said that India would soon clarify on the issue of permitting Indian businessmen to invest in Pakistan.

"There were some doubts, whether Indian industry are allowed to invest or not. The answer is yes. It is just a procedural formality. I have been informed that it is getting addressed. It is a just a matter of days. So both ways investment flow will start," he added.

India has recently notified allowing Pakistani businessmen to invest in India through government approval route.

Sharma also allayed fears of Pakistan that India being a big economy can flood the markets of the neighbouring country.

He said free flow of goods and investment will help both the economies.

Commenting on the visa issue, he said an agreement would be signed soon in this regard.

He said India is ready to provide multiple entry visa to Pakistani businessmen and more clarity will come after the visit of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna later this week.

Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan stood at $ 2.7 billion in 2010-11.

A 13-member Pakistani delegation, led by Deputy Leader of Senate Sabir Ali Baloch, is here on a visit.

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