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Most Favoured Nation status to Pak can't go: Govt of India had said before Pulwama terror attack

Subramanian Swamy
By Our Representative
India may have withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status from Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack on February 14, but, ironically, just a month and a half earlier, the Government of India had asserted that this is not possible or desirable. Bringing this to light, a tweet by one Jagdish Shetty commented, "It took a terrorist in Pulwama to wake them up!"
In reply to a letter to BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy to take away the MFN status from Pakistan, CR Chaudhary, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, said that as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and in accordance with provisions of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GAIT), 1994, India accorded MFN status to all WTO countries, including Pakistan.
Criticizing Pakistan for refusing to reciprocate appropriately, the minister said that neighbouring country is yet to fully accord MFN status to India, and it maintains a negative list of 1,209 products not allowed to be imported from India and permits import of only 138 products through the Wagah border.
However, he said, it is important to note that India has consistently maintained a substantial trade surplus with Pakistan, in spite of such restrictions being in place, as is evident from the data of bilateral trade since 1995-96. In 2017-18, Indian exports to Pakistan amounted to USD 1.9 billion as against only USD 488 million from Pakistan.
The minister underlined that any retaliatory action by India in the nature of suspension of the MFN status already accorded to Pakistan runs the risk of Pakistan imposing further restrictions on imports from India. He added, in view of India's substantial trade surplus with Pakistan,retaliatory steps by the two sides arc likely to impact India in a relatively more adverse manner.
According to the minister, in the light of the complexity of the issue and trade surplus in favour of India, a decision on suspending or modifying the MFN status accorded by India to Pakistan has not been considered.

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