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Amritsar traders say trade revival with Pakistan key poll issue; will benefit farmers, transporters.


Date: 31-05-2024
Subject: Amritsar traders say trade revival with Pakistan key poll issue; will benefit farmers, transporters
For the traders and industry in Amritsar, resumption of trade with Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah land route is a key poll issue. They say reviving cross-border trade will also benefit farmers, transporters and labourers. The volume of trade between India and Pakistan through the land route used to be around Rs 5,000 crore per annum before the bilateral trade ties were suspended in 2019.

Resuming trade with Pakistan will not only boost the economy of Amritsar but it will also create more employment opportunities, the traders said.

The local industry has made it clear to the candidates of all major political parties that the revival of trade was necessary for the betterment and development of Amritsar.

Amritsar along with 12 other parliamentary constituencies of Punjab will go to polls in the final round of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections on June 1.

"The government must resume trade with Pakistan because in Amritsar there is no manufacturing industry," said Amritsar-based industrialist Rajdeep Uppal.

"A pillar of Amritsar's economy was the Indo-Pak trade which benefitted not only economically but was the largest confidence-building measure for peace in the region," said Uppal, who is the former chairman of CII Amritsar Zone council.

Trade between India and Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah land route has not been taking place since 2019. However, imports from Afghanistan still continue through the route.

India imposed a 200 per cent customs duty on all products imported from Pakistan following the Pulwama attack in February 2019.

Pakistan suspended bilateral trade with India in August 2019 in the wake of the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

With the resumption of trade with Pakistan, there will be huge opportunities for work at the Integrated Check Post in the border district, Uppal told PTI.

When there were no restrictions on trade, around 2,500 porters used to get work. Similarly, truck drivers used to get business supplying items for import and export, industry leaders said.

Every day, 500 trucks would be engaged in importing and exporting duties, they said.

India used to export vegetables, including potatoes, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices, cotton yarn, soybean extraction, dyes and tyres and used to import dry fruits, cement, gypsum and rock salt.

 ..

Traders pointed out that the resumption of trade with Pakistan would prove to be beneficial not only for the trade and industry but also for the farmers as they would get back their market.

"We speak about our farmers. Pakistan was one of the largest markets for our farmers. Potatoes, tomatoes, peas, and every kind of vegetable used to be exported. If there was any shortage of any vegetable, it used to be imported also. Consumers as well as farmers both were happy," said Uppal.

It is in the interest of everyone, be it traders, transporters, farmers and labourers that the trade should be resumed, he asserted.

Another Amritsar-based exporter also pitched for the revival of trade with Pakistan.

He said Amritsar is the only city which has three gateways -- rail, road and air connectivity.

"There is a huge potential for trade with Pakistan," he said, adding that there is also potential for trade with Central Asia through this route.


India and Pakistan had agreed to start a cross-border movement of trucks in October 2007, after a gap of 60 years from the Attari Check post at Amritsar in India to the Wagah border in Pakistan to boost bilateral trade.

An Integrated Check Post was set up at the Attari-Wagah border in 2012 for smooth movement of traffic between India and Pakistan.


The BJP has fielded former US diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu, while the Congress has named Gurjit Singh Aujla and the Shiromani Akali Dal's candidate is former minister Anil Joshi. Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal.

 Source Name : Economic Times

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