KARACHI: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan T.C.A. Raghavan has said the two countries have drawn closer as normal trading partners since 2012, though a number of issues have yet to be resolved.
During a meeting with members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Friday, Mr Raghavan said both countries need to focus on improving infrastructure and removing tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Better coordination would be helpful to resolve issues related to market access, connectivity, trade barriers and communications, he said. “Things have to move in tandem. One should not expect progress in one area and leave the other issues unattended.”
Both the countries need to look at overall policy environment if they wish to boost bilateral trade, he said.
Referring to a point raised by FPCCI President Mian Mohammad Adrees, he said that the High Commission of India was doing its best to issue visas as expeditiously as possible. He also assured that Pakistani people who have medical urgency would be issued visas within 24 hours.
Responding to a demand that the Indian High Commission should open visa office in Karachi, Mr Raghavan said that already two visa collection points were working in Karachi and there was similar facility at Hyderabad, Sukkur and Mirpurkhas.
The FPCCI chief, who returned after attending Saarc conference in New Delhi, disclosed that an Indian minister informed him that meeting rooms on either side of the Wagha border for business community would start operating within next two to three weeks.
Speaking on the occasion, Trading Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) chief S.M. Muneer said MCB Bank was ready to open branches in Mumbai, New Delhi and Amritsar to facilitate businesses that currently receive payments through a third country or unofficial channels.
He also sought his assistance in handing over the charge of India-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry to India.
Published in Dawn March 14th , 2015