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Wednesday, Apr 20, 2005

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`Better infrastructure needed to boost Indo-Pak trade'

Our Bureau

New Delhi , April 19

THE Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has called for infrastructural development across the Indo-Pak border (at both the ends) to facilitate increased cross-border trade flows.

Both the countries could draw experience from the existing border trade between India and Bangladesh through Petrapole, according to a FIEO statement issued here.

Welcoming the proposal for setting up a joint business council, the FIEO added that Pakistan should come out with the list of restricted items of import from India and not have a permitted list of 768 items as of now "With the pressing need to meet the commitments of South Asia Free Trade Agreement by 2006, both the countries require to liberalise trade. Given the political willingness, bilateral trade will see a whopping growth and can easily be worth $5 billion by 2006," the FIEO statement said.

While the official bilateral trade stands at $400 million, the grey market trade is worth billions of dollars.

On the joint decision of India and Pakistan to open consulates at Mumbai and Karachi, the FIEO said that this move would not only create further goodwill between the two countries, but would also boost tourism, including health tourism.

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