Pakistan upbeat on trade with India
PAKISTAN’S finance minister on Wednesday voiced optimism about trade with India, saying that he saw popular support for building ties with the historic foe and benefiting from its “dynamic” economy.
India and Pakistan, which have fought three full-fledged wars since independence in 1947, recently approved a most-favoured nation accord to reduce taxes that hamper trade.
Official trade is heavily tilted in India’s favour.
“There was a time when I used to evaluate Pakistan and I thought the best way for it to really develop is to relocate.
I used to think that the best place for us to take Pakistan would be somewhere between Italy and Switzerland,” Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said in jest.
“Now I’ve changed my mind because the parts that I thought we should be located in (Europe) aren’t doing that great in terms of growth and where we are is the most dynamic part of the world,” he said.
“So I think we should stay there, we should work and be good neighbours with each other,” Shaikh, who was visiting Washington for the annual World Bank/IMF spring meetings, said at the Brookings Institution thinktank.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, an eight-nation bloc, has repeatedly pledged to boost economic ties but such promises have made little headway amid the constant friction between India and Pakistan.