The Indian delegation was led by Mr. S R Rao, Commerce Secretary and Pakistan’s was led by Mr. Munir Qureshi, Secretary, Commerce.
The Pakistan side expressed appreciation of the steps taken by India to reduce its South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) sensitive list by 30% from 878 tariff lines to 614 tariff lines as agreed earlier during the 6th Round of Talks. The Indian side explained that out of 264 tariff lines which have been removed from India’s SAFTA sensitive list, 155 tariff lines pertain to agricultural commodities and 106 tariff lines relate to textile items.
To further deepen the preferential arrangements under SAFTA and to provide level playing field to Pakistani exporters in comparison to concessions allowed by India under SAFTA to rest of the countries in the SAARC region, both sides developed a long term plan. It was noted that Pakistan now has a total of 936 tariff lines at 6 digit under its SAFTA Sensitive List, as against 614 tariff lines at 6 digit of India.
It was agreed that after Pakistan has notified its removal of all restrictions on trade by Wagah-Attari land route, the Indian side would bring down its SAFTA sensitive list by 30% before December, 2012 keeping in view Pakistan’s export interests . Pakistan would transition fully to Most Favorable Nation (MFN) status for India by December 2012 as agreed earlier. India would thereafter bring down its SAFTA Sensitive List to 100 tariff lines at 6 digit level by April, 2013.
As India notifies the reduced Sensitive List, Pakistan, after seeking approval of the Cabinet, will also simultaneously notify its dates of transition to bring down its SAFTA sensitive list to a maximum of 100 tariff lines at 6 digit level within next 5 years. The reductions shall be notified by Pakistan in equal measure for each year so as to complete reduction to 100 lines before end of 2017.
Thus, before the end of 2017, both India and Pakistan would have no more than 100 (6 digit) tariff lines in their respective SAFTA sensitive lists. Before the end of year 2020, except for this small number of tariff lines under respective SAFTA sensitive lists, the peak tariff rate for all other tariff lines would not be more than 5%.
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