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India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum forms 10 groups to enhance trade

NEW DELHI: The India-Pakistan Joint Business Forum (IPJBF) has constituted 10 task forces on sectors, including agriculture, automobiles, engineering and IT, to increase bilateral trade and investment. 

"The forum, which has 15 prominent businessmen from each country, has been tasked with identifying the problems faced in cross-border trade and to come up with recommendations," Vikramjit Sahney, President, SAARC 
Chamber of Commerce& Industry, said in a statement. 

The task forces would deliberate on each sector and suggest ways to increase trade and investment, he said. 

He said the forum has agreed to seek further softening of the visa regime. 

The decision to form these groups was taken at the first meeting of the IPJBF in Islamabad on June 29. 

The other areas for increasing cooperation include textiles, pharmaceuticals, vocational training, banking infrastructure and telecommunication, he added. 

Besides Sahney, other members from the Indian side include Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman of Hero Corporate Services, 
Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Managing Director of Bharti Enterprises, and Deepak Amitabh, Chairman of PTC India. 

Taking forward the process of normalisation of trade, Pakistan has shifted from a positive list-based trade regime to a limited negative list. 

Pakistan has missed a December 31, 2012, deadline to end a negative list regime for trade and give Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India. India granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996. 

Currently, trade between India and Pakistan stands at $ 2.5 billion.