Trade across LoC by next year; 9 items identified: Centre

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Srinagar, Oct 22 (UNI) The Centre today said India and Pakistan have Identified nine items for trade across the Line of Control (LoC), likely to commence by middle of the next year.

Addressing a news conference here, Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said the items included carpets, rugs, chain stitch and wall hangings, shawls, embroidery, handicrafts, furniture, silk and silk products, Kashmiri fruit, spices, flowers, Kashmiri saffron, Kashmiri wazwan (cuisine), aromatic plants, fruit bearing plants and dhania and basmati rice.

He said almost 90 per cent of items proposed by the Jammu and Kashmir government have been agreed to by the two countries.

The Minister said the trade would start after a technical team from Pakistan visits India to discuss the mechanism for import and export of the identified items.

''Pakistan has agreed to allow trade of only 9 out of 14 merchandisable items through the LoC,'' he added.

Mr Ramesh said Pakistan had not allowed trade of leather items, juice, jam, honey packed food, cotton and silver through the LoC.

The Minister said that Kashmir expos would be held in London, Moscow, Dubai, Dallas and Melbourne to promote handicrafts.

He said his Ministry would favourably consider any proposal for holding a similar expo in Pakistan.

The Centre and the state government were collaborating to set up a marketing centre at New Delhi which would be dedicated to Kashmir handicrafts, Mr Ramesh added.

He said a centre would be set up in partnership between the Union government, the state government and private players.

The state government was expected to submit a proposal in this regard to his Ministry within two weeks, he added.

The Minister said the idea was to have an international marketing facility for Kashmir handicrafts.

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