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Dec

The Stories You Missed in 2012

Written on December 3, 2012 by Ángeles Figueroa-Alcorta in News

Ten events and trends that were overlooked this year, but may be leading the headlines in 2013.

By Joshua E. Keating

1. India and Pakistan Trade Away

The conventional wisdom holds that India and Pakistan, which remain locked in conflict over everything from the disputed territory of Kashmir to the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, while pointing dozens of nuclear-armed missiles at each other, are not going to cut a permanent peace deal anytime soon. This year, however, the perennially feuding neighbors finally notched several key positive developments that had nothing to do with borders, nukes, or terrorism. In short, both sides may be realizing that political tension is bad for business.

Economic activity between the two bitter enemies has long been pitifully minimal. Until now, that is. In 2009, only 1 percent of India’s trade was with Pakistan, and only 1.7 percent of Pakistan’s was with India. A total of one customs post is open along their 1,800-mile border. But that has been changing. Trade between the two countries increased ninefold to $2.7 billion between 2004 and 2011 and is likely to increase further after the signing of several key trade agreements this past September.

As part of those deals, Pakistan agreed to phase out its “negative list” — hundreds of items that cannot be purchased from India, supposedly for security reasons. India, meanwhile, promised to reduce import duties on Pakistani goods. Indians, for example, will now be able to enjoy Murree beer for the first time since Partition. (Yes, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has its own brewery.) Read more…

As published in www.foreignpolicy.com (December 2012 Print Edition).

 

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