Pakistan’s main industry body is reviewing trade ties with India and said it has “no compulsions of any sort to continue business and trade relations with India under the current hostile conditions”, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported today.
That’s unlikely to affect India in any way, as Indian trade body Assocham said last month that out of India’s total merchandise trade of $641 billion in 2015-16, Pakistan accounted for a meagre $2.67 billion.
The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Abdul Rauf Alam further said that the Pakistani business community “was united to take any decision and given the tense situation in the region, it was not possible to continue trade relations with India”, the paper said.
If it does suspend trade ties with India, Alam said, “…it left them with no choice but to promote trade relations with ECO (Economic Cooperation Organisation) and D-8 countries.”
Countries who are members of ECO are Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. D8 is an organization for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Tensions between India and Pakistan are high since the cross-border terror attack in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir last month. The attack killed 17 soldiers. Since then, India has retaliated with surgical strikes on seven terrorist training camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Still, Pakistan has been continually violating the ceasefire on the Line of Control.
India has granted Pakistan ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status but the latter hasn’t reciprocated.
“India-Pakistan trade relations are abysmally low accounting for less than half a per cent of India’s total global trade involving both exports and imports,” the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said in a press release late last month, after the Uri attack, IANS reported.
“In all, trade with Pakistan was equivalent to 0.41% of India’s global merchandise commerce,” Secretary General Assocham D.S. Rawat said in the statement.
Rawat further noted then that for political reasons, businesses have not been cultivating interest in each other’s country.
“Going forward, as things stand today, it is almost no movement seen in the immediate future. Even the symbolic presence of Pakistan exhibitors at the annual India International Trade Fair in November in New Delhi is not expected whether or not formal ties are snapped or not, given the present state of affairs,” he said.