Govt hasn’t discussed withdrawal of MFN status to Pak

There has been no discussion in the government so far to withdraw the most favored nation (MFN) status to Pakistan, Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday.

The MFN status allows member countries of the World Trade Organization—which includes almost all countries of the world—access each other’s markets on a non-discriminatory access.

The Indo-Pak trade in 2015-16 was worth $2.61 billion.

It may be recalled that India, as a goodwill gesture, had extended the MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 but the gesture has not been reciprocated. “On the issue of the withdrawal of MFN from Pakistan, strictly speaking, that has not yet been discussed,” she told reporters.

Sitharaman refused to comment whether the MFN status to our western neighbor will be withdrawn.

In the wake of the Uri attack, the government had taken the decision that the MFN status would be reviewed, but no progress was made in this regard. The option of taking Pakistan to the WTO has not been ruled out.

Another review in the news pertained to the Indus water treaty with Pakistan.