Accord to revive business council

Published April 18, 2005

NEW DELHI, April 17: India and Pakistan held “positive and businesslike” talks on Sunday, agreeing to boost trade and transport links to bolster the peace process. Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, told a press conference the two sides had agreed to revive a joint business council to boost economic links, and promised New Delhi would lift trade barriers to Pakistani goods.

“The approach on both sides was very positive, very forward-looking and there was a willingness to look at all aspects to take our relationship forward,” Mr Saran said.

“It was also agreed that it is in the interest of India and Pakistan to promote their economic and trade relations,” he told a news conference. “There is a sense now that yes, it is worthwhile reviving the joint commission which can then look into the trade relationship between the two countries, the economic ties between the two countries and hopefully take it forward.”

He said the commission, which had been defunct for nearly two decades, would examine ways to cut red tape and remove barriers that hamper bilateral trade.

Saran said the issue of most-favoured-nation status “came up in the sense of Pakistani apprehension that there are both tariff as well as non-tariff barriers which come in the way of promotion of Pakistani exports to India.”— Reuters

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