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Pakistani traders want to boost trade with India

Posted by on February 6, 2011 0 Comment

Islamabad, Feb 6 (IANS) Even as their foreign secretaries meet at Thimphu, Pakistani traders have urged the governments of Indian and Pakistan to boost economic activities to fight poverty and unemployment across the border.

While celebrating Kashmir solidarity day Saturday, Pakistani traders expressed concern that differences between the two neighbours are pulling them backwards, Aaj TV reported.

“It is the only instance in the world where trade is allowed but only for two days in a week,” Zulfiqar Abbasi of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce in Muzaffarabad was quoted as saying.

The differences have resulted in poverty and unemployment in the valley on both sides “and we certainly need to go beyond that”, he said.

The traders also suggested expansion of list of items currently being traded between the two countries through the Line of Control (Loc) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mirza Ikhtiyar Baig, the adviser to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and a leading industrialist, said: “There is certainly a need to expand the list of items in which trade is allowed through the LoC.”

“We know that there is unexploited potential and are looking into possibilities in this regard”, he added.

Trade in 21 agreed items, including Kashmiri embroidery, dry and fresh fruits and wooden furniture, opened along the LoC Oct 21, 2008 as part of confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan.

The current volume of trade across the LoC stands at around Rs.2 billion (over $23 milion) annually.

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