Will award India with MFN status soon: Pak minister

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Islamabad, Jan 31: Pakistan's Senior Minister of Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim on Thursday said that his country would soon give India the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to boost trade between the two neighbours.

The Pakistani minister's words came when the two countries were witnessing a disturbed phase in their bilateral relations in the wake of a border flare-up last month. The Indian establishment accused Pakistan of repeated ceasefire violations at the Line of Control and beheading one of its soldiers after a border skirmish. Pakistan gave strong reply and trade and communication between the two countries were also disrupted.

Speaking at a press conference here, Fahim said the decision to award India the status had been taken and its implementation was just a matter of time. The minister said the governments of the two countries were firm in protecting interests of the local industries and said that all reservations of the local trade and industry sector would be addressed before the decision was implemented.

Under the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2012-15, Fahim said, the target for trade with India was USD 1.5 billion while the current figure stood at a paltry USD 300 million.

Speaking on Pakistan's economic development, the minister said exports from the country in the first six months of the current fiscal grew by 8 per cent, which was a positive sign.

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