Jan 17, 2014, 1:20 AM
News Code: 80998912
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Pakistan pitches for relaxing visa regime to boost business ties

New Delhi, Jan 17, IRNA -- Pakistan Thursday made a strong case for relaxing visa regime, improving mobile connectivity and facilitating banking relationship to boost trade and business between the two neighbours.

'The non-tariff barrier has nothing to do with trade at all... It is the visa regime (which is hampering movement of businessmen and trade),' Pakistan Minister for Commerce and Textile Khurram Dastagir Khan said while addressing a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) function.

He underlined the need for relaxing visa regime to facilitate movement of businessmen.

Referring to the issue of mobile connectivity and banking issues, Khan said that both countries should have these kinds of connectivities, which facilitate trade and investment.

Khan, who is leading a delegation of 70 businessmen, said that efforts were on to enhance two-way trade through the Wagha border.

'An enhancement of trade through Wagha is under active negotiation at this moment. We are hoping to have a positive (outcome) on that,' he added.

On Pakistan according the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, Khan said, 'regarding the 'M' word, let us just say that we have shifted it one letter down to 'N' and now we are discussing 'Non-Discriminatory Access'.

'The idea of course is (that) instead of getting caught or rather stranded in nomenclature, we should work sincerely towards proving substantial market access to each other whatever nomenclature we use,' Khan said.

Before leaving for India, the minister told PTI in Islamabad that the State Bank of Pakistan has just written to the RBI that three banks would like to open their branches in India. I don't know when but it will happen. Some movement has taken place.'

Overall, India-Pakistan trade is worth USD 3 billion and the industry wants that all efforts should be made to increase it to USD 10 billion in the next three years.