India - Pakistan trade

At a time when Pakistan desperately seeks foreign cash to ward off an economic collapse in the midst of escalating extremist violence, the ongoing CII fair in Chandigarh has opened the door to some salvation. As Pakistani currency falls from Rs 1.6 to stand at Rs 1.8 against the Indian rupee, the exhibition is proving to be a great opportunity for Pakistani traders to shore up foreign exchange.“We never had it so good in India. A large number of Indians are buying clothes and dry fruits from us at the fair,” said Pakistani designer from Karachi Rukhsana Abbas. While Indian money can fetch more Pakistani goods now, this time the neighbouring country’s presence too is more pronounced at the fair than previous years.Shoemaker Huma Naveed was happy that the profit margin was high here. “With Pakistan in the throes of a financial crisis due to its near-empty foreign exchange reserves, it appears there will be pressure on its government to allow more exports to India to shore up forex reserves,” onyx trader Shahzad Ahmed said. While there are 675 items which Pakistan does not allow for trade here, India has been open about more business transactions between the two countries.Esa Bhai of Karachi, a trader at the ongoing CII fair here, said, “Dry fruit demand ahead of Indian festivals is very high and if it continues at this pace, I may run out of stock very soon.” As Pakistani traders hoped commerce ministries of the two countries would immediately open up trade and help Pakistan earn foreign exchange from a large economy like India, CII regional director Charu Mathur said, “It is a great opportunity to boost trade and help a neighbouring country’s economy stabilise.” As Pakistani cement also becomes affordable to boost a sagging Indian real estate and construction sector, traders added, “This is the time when Indians can extend a helping hand to Pakistanis who are in a financial crisis.”

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