At a time when India and Pakistan have resumed trade normalisation talks, an Icrier survey has revealed that awareness of trade policies is much lower in Pakistan than in India and that Pakistani traders find it difficult to meet standards laid down by Indian authorities on agricultural products and perceive that they have low market access to the Indian market.
These are the findings of a Trade Perception Survey done by Delhi-based think tank Icrier undertaken to gather the perception of stakeholders engaged in India-Pakistan trade on the extent of impediments faced by them in realising the trade potential. The analysis is based on information collected on six indicators- awareness of trade policy, ease of meeting standards, market access, business facilitation, customs and documentation, and infrastructure at ports“Interestingly, neither country perceived country labels to have any negative impact on trade flows. However, the perception about the negative impact of political events on trade was to some extent perceived by Indian respondents but not by Pakistani traders,” said the Icrier survey.
The survey comes a days after the trade ministers of India and Pakistan agreed on a non-discriminatory market access programme in place of the most favoured nation (MFN) regime, besides opening up Wagah-Attari border round the clock to enhance bilateral trade.
“Obtaining visas and communicating with counterparts is far more difficult for Pakistani businessmen than for Indian respondents. Customs efficiency in terms of processing time of documents, time taken for lab testing and checks for security was seen to be the worst at the rail Land Customs Station (LCS) compared to road, sea and air ports in India,” the survey added.
Besides, in India 100% security check conducted on all consignments from Pakistan were perceived as being excessive in sea ports as they were conducted only on Pakistani consignments and not on consignments from other countries.
Overall infrastructure at the sea ports was perceived to be the worst compared to that at other ports in both India and Pakistan.
The bilateral trade between India and Pakistan stood at $2.6 billion in 2012-13 as against $1.93 billion in 2011-12 and $2.37 billion in 2010-11.
Overall, the highest proportion of respondents in both India and Pakistan felt that bilateral trade will increase by up to 25%, with the growth of exports from India to Pakistan to be greater than 10% for agricultural commodities; chemicals; pharmaceuticals; processed food items including biscuits; cotton; engineering and mechanical goods;