HYDERABAD: Regional markets including India offer huge opportunities and can help Pakistan boost its exports, said Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan on Thursday.
Addressing a gathering of growers arranged by Sindh Abadgar Board (SAB), the minister said there was no need to be fearful of Indian market’s size as Pakistan has huge export potential.
“We shouldn’t be apprehensive of India’s products and markets. Positive list has been replaced with negative list in PPP government and barring a few things all kind of trade with India is open since 2012.
“Besides India, countries like Iran, Afghanistan and gulf region are attractive markets waiting for our products. We can make better returns but we must first organise ourselves,” he said.
Referring to North America Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) and Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean), he said Pakistan’s economy would struggle to grow if it remains confined to its borders.
On the occasion, SAB President Abdul Majeed Nizamani said Pakistan must increase its research budget from 0.5 per cent to 1.5pc of the gross domestic product (GDP) like India so that researchers should come up with pest resistant, short duration and higher yield crops.
Separately, talking to journalists after addressing members of Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI), the commerce minister said that India would be granted the status of Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA).
“It is not MFN [most favoured nation] but we call it NDMA which calls for non-discriminatory and parallel market access,” he told a questioner when asked whether some quarters oppose it.
He described Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to India as positive and said Mr Sharif did not indulge in reactionary diplomacy.
He said although Pakistan has certain reservations with India like Kashmir, Siachen, Afghanistan, Sir Creek and water issues, “mere handing over list of reservations is not diplomacy”.
Addressing HCCI members, he said energy crisis would be overcome to a great extent by 2016. Government is planning to take energy production to 40,000 megawatts and it is trying to switch over to coal-based power from furnace oil.