Amritsar, Dec.4 : The recent Mumbai terror attack has marred the much expected enthusiasm at the Punjab International Trade Expo (PITEX) 08 which began here to promote trade and industry links between Indian and Pakistani Punjabs.
The PHD chamber of Commerce and Industry opened the PITEX 08 in collaboration with Punjab Government as the host State.
The five-day international fair is intended to provide an international exposure to businessmen from both side of the border between India and Pakistan.
There are nearly 225 stalls put up in the pavilion exhibiting various products.
Nearly 20 stalls from Pakistan are already exhibiting their products. But following the recent terrorist incidents in the Mumbai, the financial capital of India, the participation from Pakistan has been less enthusiastic.
Business community of both the countries here maintained that an increased and strengthened business relation could actually lead to an improved regional cooperation and economic interdependence.
The participating businessmen said that good trade relations would make all South Asian countries more competitive in an increasingly globalized economic scenario, even in the testing times of the global economic meltdown.
Dalip Sharma, Regional Director, PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry, informed that due to Mumbai terror attack most of the exporters from Pakistan didn't arrive despite the government of India having granted over 500 visas to Pakistani businessmen.
He, however, said that the business community on both sides of the border acknowledge the fact that the two countries couldn't live in isolation as far as bilateral trade is concerned.
Anudeep Singh, one Indian exporter, said that it was trade that could help to reduce the political conflict between the two. He claimed that he was in touch with the Pakistani businessmen.
The Government of India has already granted status of Most Favored Nation (MFN) to Pakistan in 1999. But Pakistan did not respond with same gesture and allowed only a few items directly to be imported from India.
Muhammd Afzal, one Pakistani exporter, said there were lots of items Pakistan can trade directly with India, which the consumers in Pakistan have been getting through third countries at higher rates due to high freight and taxes.
Another exporter from Pakistan Mohammed Tahir said that trade between India and Pakistan will help in avoiding conflicts. By Ravinder Singh Robin