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Rediff.com  » News » Pak links free trade to Kashmir

Pak links free trade to Kashmir

August 12, 2005 19:24 IST
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Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Friday his country won't trade freely with neighbor India until their territorial dispute over the disputed region of Kashmir is resolved.

"With India, free trade and investment ... has to move in tandem with progress on overall relations with the two countries, and the main issue is ... Kashmir," Aziz said during an official visit to Hong Kong.

"Progress on free trade and investment will be linked to progress on the issue," he said.

But Aziz said once the dispute is resolved, there is good potential for trade ties between the neighbors.

One possible move is to allow banks in each country to open branches in the other, he said.

"State Bank of Pakistan is very keen and we want to do it in parallel (with India), so the moment we get a green signal that the Reserve Bank (of India) is ready to trot we will," Aziz said.

Aziz said the proposal would start out in the Pakistani financial center of Karachi and its Indian counterpart Bombay.

The road to peace | More reports from Pakistan

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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