Promoting trade between India and Pakistan

Project:
Research and Advocacy to Promote India-Pakistan Trade
Building capacity and awareness to advocate positively and effectively on the normalisation of India-Pakistan trade

Despite the area including some of South Asia’s principal historic trade routes, bilateral trade links between India and Pakistan have, since the 1950s, been negligible, and indeed have been formally severed on a number of occasions. Improvements have repeatedly been subject to set-backs following periods of conflict. In 2010, bilateral trade was estimated at $2.7 billion dollars, a tiny fraction of India’s gross national exports of $307 billion.

Since May 2011 we have been working in partnership with the Lahore University of Management Sciences to improve prospects for trade as part of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded “Promoting India-Pakistan Trade” project.  Now in Phase II, the project’s purpose is to build support for greater cooperation and dialogue between government and the public and private sectors to promote bilateral trade liberalisation and raise awareness of key issues. Our team is achieving this by building capacity and awareness amongst specific target stakeholder groups to advocate positively the benefits of normalisation of Indo-Pakistani trade.

The project team consists of leading economists and legal and communications experts. For research and advocacy purposes, the team regularly engages with the Farmers Association of Pakistan, Joint India-Pakistan Business Council, Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development, industry representatives, donors and other stakeholder groups. Engaging large and influential institutions has produced greater impact and value for money.

Through the efforts of the project, key influencers and representatives are better informed on bilateral trade issues, in terms of both opportunities and risks, and therefore are able to more effectively represent and advocate for their groups, with the hope that bilateral Indo-Pakistani trade can be helped to resume and increase. This has helped to promote a recent 21% increase in Indo-Pakistani trade.