Exporters’ interest will be protected in Afghan transit trade: Razak

Published October 20, 2020
the number of containers arriving under the Afghanistan-Pakistan transit trade increased 43.95pc to 93,732 in 2018-19 from 60,516 in the 2017-18.
the number of containers arriving under the Afghanistan-Pakistan transit trade increased 43.95pc to 93,732 in 2018-19 from 60,516 in the 2017-18.

ISLAMABAD: The Natio­nal Assembly’s Standing Committee on Commerce has taken up the proposed amendments in Afgha­nis­tan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) to protect local exporters.

The committee meeting, chaired by MNA Naveed Qamar was convened on Monday, to gather feedback from the Ministry of Commerce on the proposed demands from Afghan government for revising the APTTA, 2010.

Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood briefed the committee on the broader perspective of proposed amendments. “We cannot share our response publicly,” adviser informed the committee.

However, he added that his ministry can brief the committee in-camera on Pakistan’s response to their demands due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Afghanistan had asked Islamabad to allow transit of Indian goods via the Wagah border to Afgha­nistan. Kabul wants Pakis­tan to formally include India into the transit agreement. The second major demand is to allow use of local transports for transit of goods.

Currently, the bulk of transit goods are transported via trucks to Torkham and Chaman border stations. Kabul has also demanded the use of railway as a mode of transportation.

The Ministry of Com­merce briefed the committee on APTTA 2010. The committee further discussed the institutional arrangements, challenges, and issues in transit trade with Afghanistan.

The committee was in­­formed that the Afgha­nis­tan Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) was established to monitor the effective implementation of the agreement. However, the APTTCA meeting was not held after a lapse of several months.

The ministry further added that one of the discouraging factors in Afghanistan-Pakistan transit trade is high terminal charges at Pakistani ports for handling and storage of cargo.

The major reasons for high port charges in the country are attributed to a non-competitive environment, non-utilisation of Gwadar port and lack of a regulatory mechanism to regulate terminal operators and shipping lines.

The ministry said that lack of hominisation of customs documents is another issue which hinders the timely completion of transit formalities.

The ministry is addressing issues like permits, delays in clearance of goods, difficulty in the registration of goods documents, insufficient space for clearance and handling of goods, its delays and other related issues.

Qamar directed the commerce ministry to add proposals of the committee members in the exchange document. He asked the Ministry of Commerce that next agreement must be comprehensive and Pakis­tani exporters needed to be facilitated on priority.

Afghanistan was the second biggest export market after United States for Pakistani goods. However, export proceeds from Kabul has gradually declined to around $1bn from over $2bn in the last few year due to various factors.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2020

Opinion

Zero carbon race
22 Jan 2021

Zero carbon race

Over 100 countries, including Pakistan, have failed to submit their national commitments to cut emissions.
Sports for all
22 Jan 2021

Sports for all

We need a certain level of fitness to observe God’s law.
Normalcy restored
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Normalcy restored

So long as invoking domestic and foreign ‘enemies’ is our ‘normal’, expect our tryst with praetorianism to continue unabated.
The hazards of governance
Updated 21 Jan 2021

The hazards of governance

The most efficient administrations derive their strength from the quality and regularity of intra-department consultation.

Editorial

Updated 22 Jan 2021

Time to heal

A multitude of foreign issues will test Biden’s mettle and require progressive thinking.
22 Jan 2021

Foreign funding

AS the pressure builds on his party in the foreign funding case, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for an ...
22 Jan 2021

Decaying PTV

THE Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises has decided to remove Pakistan Television from the list of...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Agosta kickbacks trial

A POLITICALLY significant trial opened in Paris yesterday. Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur is in the...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Indian media scandal

Common sense, factual reporting and ethics are all chucked out the window in the maddening race for ratings, influence and power.
21 Jan 2021

Rising food prices

FOOD inflation continues to challenge the resolve of the government to control the prices of essential kitchen items...