Develop a reform program for liberalizing regional trade with a focus on trade with India

The report focuses on Pakistan-India trade and discusses the challenging issues of non –tariff barriers and subsidies. It emphasizes the need for technical capacity to both understand the complexities as well as respond in terms of specific policy instruments such as countervailing duties and regional trade liberalization (SAFTA) in the context of the global trade regimes of India and Pakistan.

The following conclusions are drawn:

  • Small and medium enterprises have to be facilitated to benefit from Pakistan-India trade and thus become vocal stakeholders in the liberalization process.
  • Pakistan-India bilateral investment regime needs to be announced at the earliest and investment procedures simplified
  • For regional connectivity and trade facilitation, the pending international conventions need to be ratified.
  • Intra-industry transactions, investment and technology flows, and exchange of skilled manpower will be key in realizing the vision of regional prosperity and this will require a conducive bilateral visa regime.

In conclusion, a WTO consistent Pakistan-India trade will help make Pakistan a regional trade hub. Sustained welfare improvements for the citizens arise when the economy transitions from a transportation hub of goods and energy to a manufacturing hub that creates high productivity, high wage jobs in multiple regional growth nodes. Key to that transition are skilled workforce, modern infrastructure (ports, roads and energy), substantially improved governance for service delivery and a development framework that promotes investment and manufacturing over consumption. Reforms to that end need to be implemented for citizens to realize the full benefits of liberalized Pakistan-India trade in a vibrant economic region.

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