ISLAMABAD, July 9: The negative list for trade with India is scheduled to be abolished by the end of December 2012.

However, execution of the decision is conditional to provision of a level-playing field to exports from Pakistan by India, the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce was informed here on Monday.

The committee was also informed that the US was not inclined to honour its commitment to create Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs).

The Secretary of Commerce, Munir Qureshi, said that the US is not keen to support the economy of Pakistan through ROZs. However, it seems to be willing to promote bilateral trade through other initiatives.

The committee was informed that an investment conference was held in Islamabad with US assistance.

The Ministry of Commerce briefed the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, headed by Senator Ghulam Ali, regarding latest trade scenario.

Commerce secretary Munir Qureshi informed the committee that under the trade liberalisation programme with India, Pakistan switched from positive to a negative list that included 1200 items.

This list is to be abolished by the end of December 2012 provided India removes non-tariff barriers (NTBs).

He informed that talks on import of power from India would be held in Lahore in the near future.

Similarly, for negotiating import of petroleum products from India, Pakistani delegation would hold talks in Delhi this month.

He further informed that after the start of the trade liberalisation process, India has indicated lifting ban on investment from Pakistan.

Additional Secretary of Commerce Fazal Abbas Maken informed the meeting that vulnerable sectors of Pakistan’s industry, like textiles, pharmaceutical, auto, chemical, iron and steel, and plastic goods, have been provided protection under the negative list.

Senator Islam-Ud-Din Sheikh informed that the government had agreed to evaluate possibility of placing import of sugar from India in the negative list.

The committee was informed that the ministry of finance had collected Rs18.82 billion under the Export Development Fund (EDF). However, only Rs7.34 billion have been released to the commerce ministry for export development initiatives.

The Ministry of Commerce has already taken up the issue for release of Rs11.42 billion with finance officials.

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