Border trade ranking improves to 111th: FBR

Published January 20, 2021
The announcement of the FBR did not mention the year in which the index was calculated. — APP/File
The announcement of the FBR did not mention the year in which the index was calculated. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakis­tan’s rank on the trading across border index jumped by 31 positions from 142nd to 111th due to considerably improved implementation of several measures, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said on Tuesday.

The improvement is linked with the ongoing reforms that led to huge improvements in trading across the borders index. The announcement of the FBR did not mention the year in which the index was calculated.

An official announcement said the FBR made trading across borders easier by focusing three crucial areas: enhancing the integration of various agencies in the Web-Based One Customs (WeBOC) electronic system; reducing the number of documents required for import/export clearances; and enhancing capacities of Pakistan Customs officials for playing pro-active role in smoothly regulating border trade.

Climbing up the ladder in Trading Across Border Index has enabled Pakistan in jumping up 28 places – from 136th to 108th – in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2020 and securing a place among the top 10 countries that have done the most in the corresponding/past year to improve the ease of doing business in their countries.

This milestone has led Pakistan to be the sixth global reformer and first in South Asia that has brought ease in doing business for the national/international trade.

It is important to note that border facilitation is amongst the top priority areas as per the comprehensive policy laid down by the government. Concerted efforts by Pakistan Customs led to impressive performance in terms of compliance to the provisions of World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agree­­ment; hence, complementing Pakistan’s rise in the border index.

Pakistan Customs has pursued implementation of effective customs controls so that compliant trade is thoroughly facilitated, while lesser/non-compliant trade is diverted to detailed scrutiny. This strategy worked well and has gone a long way in reducing the dwell time (at the borders/ports) for imports/exports in Pakistan by increasing the percentage of clearances through Green Channel, the FBR noted.

For instance, the time required for documentary compliance to effect exports has been reduced from 55 hours to 24 hours, and the time required for overall border compliance has also been reduced from 75 hours to 24 hours.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2021

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