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PM Modi to review Pakistan’s MFN status on Thursday

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New Delhi: In the backdrop of Uri attack, India will tomorrow take a relook at the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status granted to Pakistan including options like withdrawing it or filing a case in WTO against them.

The decision to review the MFN by Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes in the wake of the Uri attack over which India is weighing options to respond. The meeting, according to sources, may deliberate upon the option of dragging Pakistan in the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism for not according similar status to India. India granted the MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 but Pakistan is yet to reciprocate to that. The neighbouring country has missed its own deadline of December 2012 for this.

Under MFN, a WTO member country is obliged to treat other trading nation in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies. According to experts, withdrawal of the MFN status by India is likely to hurt Pakistani industries as it might stop flow of raw materials at competitive prices. In 2015-16, India’s exports to Pakistan stood at USD 2.17 billion, while imports were USD 441 million.

As per the WTO rules, India can roll back the MFN status from Pakistan.

This meeting comes after the Prime Minister chaired a review meeting of 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty during which it was decided that India will “exploit to the maximum” the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water sharing pact. India’s main exports to Pakistan include sugar, cotton, man-made filaments, chemicals, carpets, furniture fresh fruits and vegetables while its imports comprise mineral fuels, precious stones, wooden handicrafts among others. Among others, officials from commerce and External Affairs ministries are expected to attend the meeting, which was convened by the Prime Minister. PTI RR CS AKK MR

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