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India, Pak to constitute Working Group on jt. regis. of Basmati

Written by: Staff

Islamabad, Mar 29 (UNI) India and Pakistan will constitute a Working Group (JWG) for joint registration of Basmati Rice (SGI) to protect their international rights and have emphasised that a new Shipping Agreement would be signed in New Delhi ''in the near future.'' The two countries also noted that the initiative on liberalisation of visa regime would be discussed in the relevant segment of the Composite Dialogue Process.

The decisions were arrived at at the two-day 'Third Round of India-Pakistan Talks on Economic and Commercial Cooperation' held within the framework of the Composite Dialogue here yesterday and today.

The Pakistan delegation at the talks was led by Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Syed Asif Shah, while the Indian side was headed by Commerce Secretary S.N. Menon.

An official spokesman said the talks were held in a ''cordial and constructive'' atmosphere and the two sides recognised the satisfactory progress on the initiatives agreed during the Second Round of the talks held in New Delhi on August 9-10.

It was emphasised that the new Shipping Agreement would be signed in the near future at New Delhi and the talks on Air Services Agreement would be concluded expeditiously.

The two sides a greed on the following: --In line with the announcement of Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz during his visit to India in November 2004, to open branches of scheduled banks in each country, the central banks would process applications by banks expeditiously.

--To facilitate import of tea from India, both sides would encourage delegations of importers/exporters of tea to visit respective countries.

It was also felt that after the new Shipping Agreement comes into effect, import of tea from India would be facilitated further.

--To identify the problems of transportation of goods by train between India and Pakistan, the relevant Ministries of both sides had a meeting on the sidelines of the talks. It was decided that they would continue their dialogue.

--Pakistan would consider enlarging the list of importable items from India in consultation with stakeholders and after fulfilling legal and procedural requirements.

--India will provide detailed proposals for trade in IT-enabled medical services and export insurance cooperation for consideration by Pakistan.

The two sides noted with satisfaction that the laying of optical fibre on the Indian side would be completed in the near future.

Pakistan noted the Indian proposal to convene a meeting of technical-level experts at the Attari-Wagah Border to draw up proposals to upgrade infrastructure to facilitate trade including export of transit cargo of Afghanistan.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Assistance of Mutual Cooperation in Capital Markets has been conveyed by Pakistan SECP to their counterpart in India. It was agreed that India would communicate its response soon.

Both sides welcomed the ratification of SAFTA Agreement by all SAARC Member Countries and expressed confidence that it would enhance regional trade.


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