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Cabinet’s MFN move hailed, termed victory of masses

The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Sunday lauded the decision of the Federal Cabinet to implement the grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India which will help normalise bilateral relations.

Failure to meet the December 31 deadline for MFN status to India indicates extra care being observed by Pakistan government and that is not insensitive to the needs and weaknesses of local business community, it said.

The move indicates that government has realised the undesirable impact of mixing politics with business on the economy, said President IWCCI Farida Rashid.

Talking to business community, she said that many perceive MFN as granting huge concessions to another country which is wrong; actually it means that both countries will not discriminate against each other.It makes sense that we should be able to buy and sell products from India as we can do with any other country, she said.

Farida Rashid said that Indian goods will provide some relief to Pakistanis whose purchasing power has been eroded due to host of reasons.

Moreover, our industry would gain access to the large Indian market with a great customer base, she added.

MFN will reduce trade cost owing to economical transportation, availability of raw materials and machinery which will cut the cost of doing business in Pakistan resulting in improved competitiveness and productivity of our industry.

The President IWCCI said that how come this part of world progress when intra-regional trade stands at five per cent which is pointless.

If resilient local industry can survive a Free Trade Agreement with a major economic power like China, it definitely can compete with Indians after they are accorded with MFN status, she observed.

She asked India to remove all non-tariff barriers to ensure equal opportunities, boost trade and mutual confidence which can increase bilateral trade to $8 billion from the current level of $2.6 billion.

She also lauded the resolve of the government to complete nation’s top hydel development project Diamer-Bhasha Dam to produce 4,500 MW and provide 6.7 million acre feet water storage capacity with or without help of international lenders.She demanded of the government to focus on completion of all the hydel projects to power economic growth for which self-financing, private sector investment, donor support and cooperation of countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and South Korea will be imperative.

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