The Pakistan cabinet today decided to open its doors to all exports from India, except a short negative list, a major step ahead of granting most favoured nation (MFN) status to its neighbour.
Even this negative list, comprising about 1,200 items in sectors such as textiles, pharmaceuticals and auto, will be phased out by December-end this year.
Under MFN, Pakistan will be required to extend the same privileges and benefits to India as it does to all other countries.
Indian traders will now be able to sell more than 6,800 items to Pakistan. At present, Pakistan maintains a positive list of 1,963 items (17 % of the total tradeable items) that India can export.
India’s exports to Pakistan stood at $2.33 billion in 2010-11 while imports from Pakistan were $332 million. Doing away with barriers could potentially increase trade three-fold, said an Indian commerce ministry official.
(Source: Wall Street Journal, Economic Times,Times of India, the Express Tribune)
Krishna to visit Egypt for review of bilateral cooperation
A number of agreements are likely to be inked during the visit of the External Affairs Minister, Mr. S.M. Krishna, to Egypt beginning Friday, the first high-level Indian visit to the North African country after the popular uprising.
During the three-day visit, which is aimed at enhancing economic and trade ties besides engaging with the new leadership, Mr Krishna will co-chair the sixth meeting of the Joint Commission with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Kamel Amr, on Sunday.
The meeting will undertake a comprehensive review of India-Egypt cooperation in the areas of trade and economy, science and technology, culture and information technology, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Bilateral trade is estimated to be $3.2 billion. Indian investments in Egypt are estimated to be around $2 billion in areas such as IT, petroleum, and oil and gas.
(Source: Livemint, Hindu Business Line)
GDP grows 6.1 % in Q3, weakest in 3 years
The Indian economy saw its weakest growth rate in nearly three years during the last quarter of 2011 as high interest rates and rising input costs constrained investment and manufacturing.
Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.1% between October and December, from a year earlier.
Growth in the manufacturing sector slowed to 0.4% during the period, down from 2.7% in the previous quarter.
Analysts said that given the slowdown in key sectors such as manufacturing and mining, Asia's third-largest economy may not be able to achieve its growth targets for the current financial year.
On the bright side, the government also looked set to bridge some of that shortfall by raising $2.5 billion through a sale of its stake in Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC).
(Source: Reuters India, BBC News, Times of India, Livemint)