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Pakistan’s MFN Status to India; Who Will Gain Out of This?

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Pakistan's MFN Status to India, Wagah Border

India and Pakistan at Wagah Border. ‘
Photo taken by Kamran Ali

India and Pakistan are the two countries which are involved in regular trade with the world. But when it comes to the neighbourhood, they are hardly maintaining any business relationship with each other. Many times the idea of starting free trade between the two neighbours was discussed. Pakistan had its own ups and downs in declaring India as its most favoured nation, but now the discussion is more about who among India and Pakistan will be benefited more if Pakistan gives Most Favoured Nation status to India.

Do you think Pakistan should give India MFN Status?

India and Pakistan, known in the world as major nuclear rival neighbours, always had tensed relations. Within this rivalry many steps towards peace were taken, some of which were successful and some eventually failed. The dialogues between two nations had almost stopped when Pakistan’s terrorist organization’s involvement in November 2008 Mumbai attacks came in the picture. India maintained a no dialogue policy until Pakistan would take action against the culprits of Mumbai attack.

It was in July 2009 amidst the tourist season when regular tourists from around the world were coming to Egypt  in full flow, diving in Sharm el Sheikh which is a beautiful tourist destination facing the Red Sea. There were some really interesting developments happening between India and Pakistan. Indian and Pakistani premiers met in Sharm el Sheikh for the first time after Mumbai Attacks. The outcomes of the meeting were lauded in Pakistan, whereas were chided by Indian analysts, but the most important aspect of the meeting was the resumption of the peace process.

While India has given a good reaction prior to the developments in Pakistan about granting MFN status, Pakistan is giving mixed response. There are analysts who think giving MFN to India is a right decision and there are analysts who have censured this step. The main reason of Pakistan for castigating this step is that India has been very strict to Pakistan in terms of providing its market for Pakistani goods.

India had given MFN status to Pakistan as soon as WTO (World Trade Organization) replaced GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) in 1995. The MFN rule requires that a WTO member must apply the same conditions on all trade with other WTO members, i.e. a WTO member has to grant the most favorable conditions under which it allows trade in a certain product type to all other WTO members. “Grant someone a special favour and you have to do the same for all other WTO members.”

Even after India giving MFN status to Pakistan, India’s non-tariff barriers, technical, security and custom standards were so strict that Pakistan couldn’t make most out of it. Pakistan on the other hand, which has comparatively less stricter standards, fear that Indian products will burgeon in their markets challenging their local industries if such status is given to India. 

India has complex trade barriers not only for export to India, but also for import from India. Dr. Ashfaq Hassan, Dean of NUST Business School, Pakistan shared his experience when Pakistan imported live animals from India during the shortage of meat in the country. He mentioned that custom office had problem because the animals were not vaccinated, and they had to take the animals all the way back to Delhi to get them vaccinated.

However, Federal Secretary Commerce, Zafar Mehmood, who believes that trade should normalize between the two countries,  maintains that India and Pakistan were trading normally between 1947 to 1965, and Pakistan’s export to India was quite high in number compared to India’s export to Pakistan. Regarding non tariff barriers imposed by India, he said they have been working with Indian establishment and Indian commerce minister to sort out all the issues and doubts which can later be problematic for either Pakistan or India.

To make things easy for Pakistani exporters and to make them understand about Indian custom regulation, Pakistan invited Indian trade regulator officers to give presentation to Pakistani exporters in Lahore and Karachi. Pakistan is also interested in signing three agreements with India, which stress on the delay in customs in India, discrimination in evaluation of Pakistani goods in customs, resolving disputes of exporters/importers, recognition of Pakistan’s internationally credited laboratory and standards institute in India.

One of the most important thing that Pakistan will gain from giving India the MFN status will be reduced importing costs of machinery and machine parts, for example parts of textile machines, rail wheel, sugar mill machinery, and electric power generation machinery, etc which India produces on par or even better than international level. These machinery when Pakistan imports from other countries, often “Made in India” equipment items end up arriving on Pakistani ports. These parts are then not allowed to pass the Pakistani customs. 

This complexity in trade between India and Pakistan has helped trade mafias whose job is to order parts from India in Dubai or Singapore and then remove “Made in India” markings to sell it to Pakistan on higher rates, causing loss to Pakistan’s industries. If trade is normalized between the countries, Pakistan will not only save the transportation cost but will also get rid of these trade mafias who sell the same thing for higher rates.

Moreover, Pakistan’s textile and textile finishing has high appreciation in India and India is considered as great market for textile industry of Pakistan because of the high quality and similar traditions. Another industry which will gain from giving MFN status to India is Pakistan’s Cement industry. Pakistan produces high quality cement in surplus, that is more than what Pakistan needs. Also, while approximate cost of one bag of cement in Lahore is 100 Rupees, the same bag twenty Kilometres across the border in India costs 500 Rupees, this price difference can be utilized by the Pakistani industries for their benefit.

Various analysts in Pakistan believe that Pakistan’s bank sector also has a good opportunity in India. India is believed to be a major market for banks. Many analysts stressed on the fact that international banks are earning more profit from India than from Pakistan.

Pakistan’s restricted trade with India is an international obligation which has to be resolved, there is also a huge number of population (nearly 50%) in Pakistan’s north eastern and eastern areas which borders with India, this population will gain a lot if trade is normalized. These are some of the main reasons why Pakistan government should consider granting India MFN status.

The two countries share almost similar culture, similar dressing style, similar food and similar language, thus there is a huge opportunity for trade among the two. While India is a powerful economy which can threaten Pakistan’s local industry, Pakistan should not forget that India is also a huge market of one billion people from which Pakistani industries can make huge profit.

Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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Myths of Executive Jet Charters

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The act of flying in a private jet doesn’t seem like it should belong in someone’s day-to-day life. A private jet flight fits in the realm of red carpets, a sold-out world tour, or going to an exclusively owned island. However, you’d be surprised how often people do fly in a private jet – particularly in the world of business. There plenty of misconceptions about privately jetting off, so what’s it really like to fly in one?

It’s Too Expensive

It should be established that the fact people have to fly for business is nothing new. It could be anything from visiting a partner office abroad, or groups from various companies from around the world need to meet face to face with each other. It is likely when they fly they will want to do so in business class, if not first. If you think of the collective cost of these tickets, in comparison to hiring a jet the expense doesn’t seem too much. It can make financial sense to go private rather than commercial.  Jet charter companies can help people plan the journey so it’s just right.

It’s Hard to Find a Private Airport

In the US there are more private airports than commercial ones, so the chances are a business person can find an airport nearer them to suit their needs. Similar to the likes of hiring a car, hiring a jet means they are completely in charge of their transport. Colleagues can fly at a time which suits everyone’s schedules rather than have to rely on commercial lines.

You Still Have to Go Through Security

This is not the case when flying privately. It can really cut down on the time of travel, in turn saving company time. When boarding a flight could potentially take up an entire morning or afternoon, by going privately, people can board the plane as soon as they fancy. There is no queuing, taking off shoes, or having luggage inspected. Though they’ll still need to bring a passport when flying internationally.

Weather Restrictions

Obviously a plane, even if it is private, is not going to fly in adverse weather conditions. A private jet is just as safe as a commercial plane. However, one of the many perks of flying privately is you can get going a lot sooner. As soon as the weather is deemed less dangerous and it’s safe to fly, the captain of a private jet can take off. Businessmen don’t have to worry about prolonged delays or cancellations.

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Key Terminology You Need to Know Before You Start Trading Forex

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As the largest and most liquid market in the world, forex attracts a multitude of traders on a daily basis. It is the market where currencies are bought and sold as investment assets, and is usually accessed through online trading brokers such as Oanda. Whilst the concept of trading forex is relatively simple (buying/selling currency), it is shrouded in terminology and jargon which newcomers can find difficult to decipher. As such, here are some of the key terms you should know before you begin exploring forex.

Pairings

In the forex market, currencies are always traded in pairs, as this gives one currency its value compared to another. If the dollar were traded against the pound, for example, it would be expressed as USD/GBP, with the first currency being known as the ‘sell’ currency and the letter being known as the ‘quote’.

Many popular currency pairings have been given nicknames, which can seem confusing if you have never encountered them. EUR/USD, for example, is known as the ‘euro’, and GBP/USD is often referred to as ‘cable’ or ‘sterling’.

Leverage

The ability to leverage investments when trading forex is part of the reason the forex market is so popular. Leverage essentially allows a trader to control more units of currency with less money than would usually be required (often significantly less) but at much greater risk.

The trader will be able to choose how much leverage they apply to an investment, and it is expressed as a ratio (e.g. 100:1). Whilst leverage can help traders make a much larger profit using less capital, it can also lead to an equally large loss if the trade goes against them.

Volatility

Market conditions often differ greatly on a day to day basis, but those which change exceptionally quickly (like the forex market) are known as volatile markets. This means that the assets traded in such markets are constantly shifting in value, and so must be monitored by the trader regularly to help inform their decision.

Currency pairings will experience different levels of volatility at any given time, largely depending on the economic and political climate in the currencies’ country of origin.

These are some of the main terms that you should know before you invest money in the forex market. There are more, but once they have been learned, you should find it much easier to read and analyse forex.

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How to Boost Your Company’s Income Long Term

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Part of running a company is trying to make it profitable at least in the short term. You need to make your business generate money, so you can keep the company running each day. However, what if you want to expand your company in the future, or start offering more choice to your customers? You might not have enough profits to achieve this now, but you can try to boost your company’s long-term income so that you can build towards it in the future.

Work on Your Profit Margin

Although your profits might be doing well, there might be room for improvement that will give you a better long-term return. Think about your business and see if there are any areas where you can improve your profitability. You might be able to do small things like finding a cheaper energy supplier or use cheaper suppliers for your products. Another option is to see if you can increase your productivity which will generate more profits in return. To make this work effectively, you need to create a plan that will take into account all parts of your business.

Seek Long-Term Investment

If you have been making steady profits for a while, there should be no reason why investors shouldn’t look favorably on investing in your company. You need to give them a long-term vision of where you want to take the company, and how much you think you can sell at that time. It needs to be realistic, or your potential investors might not come on board, but it also needs to be ambitious enough that your company will grow as a result. If you already have investors in your company, then they might be more able to invest more in the company knowing its current growth.

Invest in Other Companies

There are many companies that choose to invest in other businesses. For some, these are long-term investments designed to generate additional income for the business. It might also be an avenue personally, as you can invest in other companies and use the income to help finance your business. If you are new to investing, then there are ways such as Betterment investing that are great for new investors who don’t want a lot of hands-on dealings.

Consider Franchising

One way that you can increase your profits without having to spend a lot of money is to offer franchises. These offer budding business owners the chance to start their own business and have all the back-up they need, without having to create their own business idea. It also works for you because you don’t have to run the franchise or provide staff. There have been many companies that have benefited well from launching franchises.

Even though the immediate future of your company is important, you need to think ahead so you can keep your business growing. Part of that is trying to generate enough income to move into other areas or bring out new products.

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