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Commerce ministry hopes new Pakistan govt will encourage trade ties with India

NEW DELHI: Commerce ministry today expressed hope that the formation of new government in Pakistan led by PML-N chiefNawaz Sharif would encourage trade relations with India.

"The PM elect of Pakistan himself said that he wishes to pick up the threads of normalising the trade relations with India and we see this as a positive step for growing trade relations between both the countries...," Commerce Secretary S R Rao told reporters here.

He hoped normalising trade relations with India would be one of the "top priority" of the neighbouring country.

"We do hope that it augurs well for the mutual trade. This will be one of the top priority for
Pakistan government to normalise trade relations with India," Rao added.

Sharif was poised for a record third term as Pakistan's Prime Minister with his PML-N party taking an unassailable lead in Parliamentary elections.

Taking forward the process of normalisation of trade, Pakistan has shifted from positive trade list regime to a limited negative list and is expected to soon grant 
Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.

Pakistan has already missed a December 31, 2012, deadline to end a negative list regime for trade and give MFN--status to India. India granted MFN--status to Pakistan in 1996.

Currently, the 
bilateral trade between the countries stood at $ 2.5 billion.