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India-PakistanTrade Standoff Forces Alternatives

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

By Amer Malik

LAHORE: With the cessation of bilateral trade between Pakistan and India due to an ongoing escalation along the border, leading business houses said they were now contemplating a deal with the US, Afghanistan and Central Asia instead.

“Pakistan has cheaper options available for major import of cotton from the US” while cement exporters tend to look for Afghanistan and Central Asian destinations besides supplying for local consumption to meet the growing demand within the country, said Anisul Haq, secretary general of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab on Wednesday.

If the two countries wish to benefit from direct trade through Wagah, the trade has to be on a level playing field to reap dividends of close proximity and cheaper goods requiring lesser time to deliver consignments, Haq told Arab News. “We do not encourage a reroute of trade through other channels like the Afghan Transit Trade.”

Pakistan’s total trade volume from India, during 2017-18, stands at $2,412.80 million, including total imports worth $1,924.28 million and exports at $488.52 million, according to documents available with Arab News. The major imports from India include cotton, organic chemicals, dyes and chemicals, machinery, raw material for pharmaceuticals, etc., while major exports to India include cement, gypsum, edible and citrus fruits, mineral fuels and oils.

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