Pakistan continues to dither over granting 'Most Favoured Nation' (MFN) status on India, seeking today to link the issue with market access and saying it wants more equity in trade ties with New Delhi.
"Pakistan wants a level playing field for promoting and further strengthening trade ties with India. There is need to address concerns relating to market access, tariff and non-tariff barriers," Abdul Basit, High Commissioner for Pakistan, said at a joint India-Pakistan trade meet in Delhi.
Basit's comments were released in a statement by Pakistan High Commission after a meeting of India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum (IPJBF) where businessmen from the neighbouring countries hoped Islamabad would speed up the process for granting MFN to India.
Basit said innovative proposals and ideas should also be explored to create economic inter-dependence between the two countries.
"Mutual economic dependence will boost confidence amongst the business communities and make economic cooperation sustainable," he said.
After the IPJBF meeting, Pakistani industry expressed the hope that Islamabad would soon grant the MFN status as the formalities on the matter have already been completed.
"All the homework has been completed and formalities have been done so I think it is only the matter of time when the two governments meet and right forum is there. So I do not think that is an issue," Pakistan Co-chair for IPJBF Syed Yawar Ali told reporters.
India granted the MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 but Pakistan is yet to reciprocate.
In 2012, Pakistan had committed itself to give the MFN, now termed as Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA), status but missed its own deadline of 31 December due to domestic opposition.
NDMA is a nomenclature chosen by Pakistan to avoid political ramifications at home of giving India MFN status.