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Remove visa curbs to encourage trade: Pak team

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 27

IN order to increase bilateral trade between India and Pakistan, a high-powered Pakistani business delegation on Friday urged both the Governments to remove visa restrictions between the two countries.

Speaking at an interactive session, Mian Anjum Nisar, President, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that both India and Pakistan are faced with similar problems of non-tariff barriers under WTO rules.

"It is time that a joint strategy is developed to overcome the deterrents in areas where we have a comparative advantage," he said.

Mr Nisar said, "We need to support each other to develop collective and individual trademarks and patents especially for the products and commodities that have been the traditional domain of the region."

This is important in wake of emerging trends of marketing in international markets, he added.

He also stressed on the need to curb illegal trade between India and Pakistan with iron hands by both the Governments to encourage formal trade in order to substantiate future trade concessions. Mr Nisar said that it is important that a favourable climate is created under the auspices of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation for increase in volume of trade and investment between the member countries.

This, he said, is the only way to survive in a dignified way in the existing hostile socio-economic global environment and also to fight against poverty and other social problems.

Mr Nisar informed that Pakistan was building a new free port to facilitate the South Asian countries to import/export goods. The port would be operational in 18 months and would also make available opportunity for businessmen to invest freely in the industrial area surrounding the port.

He also called for joint promotion of the tourism sector in view of the two countries' common cultural heritage, recorded history and ancient archaeology. Proper arrangements and packages designed with mutual consultation for movement of domestic and international tourists can yield mutually beneficial results and would also tone down the feelings for each other with increased interaction among the masses.

Current level of bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is around $250 million - $260million with balance of trade heavily in favour of India.

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