India-Pakistan Trade: Profitable Relations?

 Vice President of the India-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Syed Yawar Ali provided an overview of the current trade flow between India and Pakistan, highlight mutually beneficial opportunities of bilateral and regional agreements, and emphasize the need for new infrastructure to increase cooperation.

Shuja Nawaz, director of the Council’s South Asia Center, moderated the discussion.

Trade between India and Pakistan amounts to only $2 billion, but has the potential to reach multiples of that amount in the next few years provided the barriers to trade are removed. Political tensions coupled with tariff and non-tariff barriers enforced in both countries have prevented India and Pakistan from benefitting from each other’s diverse markets and from their respective comparative advantage. This year, India and Pakistan began moving toward a more open trade relationship with Pakistan’s promise to accord India Most Favored Nation status. Commerce and industry ministers from both countries have met to discuss customs agreements, new trade routes, and enhancing people-to-people business ties. Joint business conferences have been held and mechanisms to deal with business-related grievances have also been setup.

Syed Yawar Ali joined the family business, Packages Limited, and then became managing director of Milk Pak Limited. After three years of the joint venture with Nestlé, he was promoted to chairman of the board. He is currently the vice president of the India-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and facilitates PBC’s work in Aman Ki Asha to promote trade between India and Pakistan.

Mr. Ali also currently serves as chairman of Nestlé Pakistan Limited, Wazir Ali Industries Limited, and was the former chairman of the Pakistan Dairy Association. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan International Airlines, Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan and Lahore Electric Supply Company.

After graduating from Aitchison College in Lahore, and receiving a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Mr. Ali attained a master’s degree in Management Science from Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey.

Aman Ki Asha is an initiative launched in 2010 by Pakistan-based Jang Group and the Times of India. For more information on this campaign, please click here.