The most favoured nation status that India and Pakistan have in principle conferred on each other will be formalised by the end of January, Pakistan's commerce secretary Zafar Mahmood said on Monday.
In interviews to various publications, Mahmood, who is in New Delhi for the second round of talks with his Indian counterpart Rahul Khullar in the last six months, also said Pakistan hopes to finalise by January-end or February a shorter 'negative list' of items to further boost trade with India, adding that the process has been endorsed by the Pakistan cabinet.
"We expect the process of interaction with Pakistan stakeholders to allay fears to be done by end January. It is only a matter of months before complete normalisation takes place and all fears are allayed," he said.
"The Pakistan cabinet has endorsed the MFN process and has given us the mandate to go and normalise trade, so i think we are very optimistic and today, and the Indian commerce ministry has also expressed their confidence in the process,'' he added.
On being asked the limit of trade between India and Pakistan if the situation is normalised, Mahmood said, "I think the sky is limit. People say there is a limit to trade, but if traders feel it is conducive to them, there will be no boundaries."
On switching to a 'negative list' from a 'positive list', Mahmood said this would mean that most of the 8,000-odd items currently barred from bilateral trade would then be easy to trade in, barring a few in the negative list.