Trade with India

Pakistan has again recorded a huge trade deficit with India, no less than $1.16 billion, in 2010-11, $357 million more than the deficit of 2009-10, which was $809 million. According to Commerce Ministry statistics, Pakistan imported $1.25 billion worth of goods from India, and exported $286.7 million worth in the fiscal year ending June 30. As can be seen, the trade is not that considerable, but what is there is lopsided in India’s favour.

The Commerce Ministry is using this trade to recommend the granting of Most Favoured Nation status to India, which would mean the opening of Pakistani markets to Indian goods, something which India has long hankered for. It must not be forgotten that Pakistan’s supposed ally, the USA, is favouring India because a lot of its corporations want to headquarter their operations in the region in India, and to supply Pakistan from plants there.

There must be no granting of MFN status so long as India insists on its illegal occupation of Kashmir, because as that consists of not just the single biggest issue between India and Pakistan, but the single biggest issue in the whole of South Asia, without its settlement, Pakistan simply cannot trade with such a duplicitous partner. Trade implies normal relations, which do not prevail between the two countries.

It should also be wary of the fact that the trade is presently lopsided, and when India speaks of expanding trade, it means increasing its exports, not increasing overall trade. To prevent imports getting in because of their cheapness and quality, India has already imposed an array of non-tariff barriers.Giving India MFN status would mean destroying Pakistani industry as India engaged in dumping, and also perpetuating the status quo in which India would obtain from Pakistan the foreign exchange it needs to fund its illegal occupation of Kashmir. – Nation