General Studies Online Notes | Negative list and Positive list approach in trade

Negative list and Positive list approach in trade
In negative list approach, trade in all commodities are permitted and unregulated unless specific measures are set out in the list of reservations. This is a liberal form trade. In a positive list approach, only commodities evaluated and approved would be permitted in trade. Pakistan has also announced its intention to move over from the positive list to negative list on trade with India. Currently, Pakistan has given access to 1,940 product lines on its positive list and has 12,000 on the negative list. But half of the items on the positive list are not exported by India or it imports these items. Pakistan is likely to take up the issue of end to non-tariff barriers (NTBs) that prevent many of its goods from entering India. With Pakistan blocking Indian imports by the positive list, India has so far maintained that the NTBs Pakistan claims are not country-specific. 

MFN status between India and Pakistan
Both countries had given MFN status to each other soon after Partition until 1965 and  India had restored that status to Pakistan unilaterally in 1996. In early November Pakistan's federal Cabinet decided “in principle” to extend the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.  India and Pakistan were among the 23 countries that were the original signatories to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which included the MFN provision.
India and Pakistan signed 12 trade agreements between 1947 and 1965, as a result of which there were four points for border trade in Punjab, including one each in Bahawalpur and Sindh and a customs point on the Chenab river for timber trade. The 1965 war ended all this until the signing of the Simla Agreement in 1972 resulted in a nominal resumption of trade by putting four items on the positive list.
When the World Trade Organisation replaced GATT as the international structure overseeing the multilateral trading system, India granted MFN status to Pakistan and moved to a negative list approach. Pakistan still maintains a positive list for trade with India. Under this list, trade is permitted in fewer than 2,000 items. India has time and again pointed out to Pakistan that maintaining the positive list approach goes against the spirit of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA). 

Arihant is India's nuclear-powered submarine which has a pressurised Water Reactor, that uses enriched uranium as fuel. It will be commissioned in January or February 2012. 

Palestine gets full UNESCO membership
The overwhelming endorsement by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for the recognition of Palestine as a full member is a strong signal by the international community to Israel and its main patron, the United States, that Palestinian statehood is now only a matter of time. UNESCO is the first U.N. agency to admit Palestine as a full member. This diplomatic victory has come less than two months after Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas' formal application for full membership in the U.N. on September 13.
The vote on October 31 in Paris, which upgraded Palestine's status from observer to full member, took place despite immense pressure from Washington. The European Union (E.U.) also tried to stall the Palestinian bid for full membership by offering limited membership on UNESCO's executive committee along with funds to renovate the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
As many as 107 countries, making up two-thirds of UNESCO's membership, voted in favour of Palestine. China, Russia, India, South Africa and Brazil were among them.Immediately after Palestine was admitted into UNESCO, the Barack Obama administration said that the U.S. was withdrawing from the organisation and cutting off funding completely. This is not the first U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO. In 1984, when Ronald Reagan was President, the U.S. withdrew from the organisation citing “growing disparity between U.S. foreign policy and UNESCO's goals”. It rejoined only in 2004.

Based on Frontline Nov 18-Dec 02, 2011