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Pak ready to resume trade with India

Source: PTI
May 13, 2003 14:24 IST
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In a significant turnaround, Pakistan has said it is ready to resume trade relations with India on bilateral level as well as under the SAARC umbrella as soon as dialogue between the two countries begins, Pakistan's Commerce and Trade Minister Humayun Akhtar told BBC Radio in an interview on Monday.

The programme in this connection has, however, not yet been finalised.

Until a few weeks ago Islamabad had linked resumption of trade to progress of talks on the Kashmir issue.

Akhtar is known for his hard-line stance and ever since he took charge of the commerce ministry last year he had ruled out Most Favoured Nation status to India and any other trade concessions under SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) until India discussed Kashmir with Pakistan.

According to media reports he had even ruled out a recommendation by the Pakistan foreign ministry to grant tariff concessions on 78 items of trade to India under SAPTA (South Asia Preferential Trade Arrangement)as recommended by the SAARC officials meet earlier in the year.

Apparently, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee initiative to restart dialogue with Pakistan brought about a change in Akhtar's stance.

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