US Senate gets bill for duty-free zones along Pak-Afghan border

Published May 1, 2021
In this file photo, an army soldier stands guard along the newly fenced part of the Pak-Afghan border. —AFP/File
In this file photo, an army soldier stands guard along the newly fenced part of the Pak-Afghan border. —AFP/File

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan bill was moved in the US Senate on Friday to establish duty-free export zones along the Pak-Afghan border.

The Pakistan-Afghanistan Economic Development Act “would serve as an important instrument to support that outcome,” said an official statement issued with the proposed legislation.

“The bill would establish Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s border regions to allow certain products from these areas to enter the US duty-free,” the statement added. “This will generate greater economic opportunity for the people in these war-torn areas and lay the groundwork for a more stable region.”

The movers of the bill include Senators Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat; Senator Todd Young, an Indian Republican; and Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat. In a joint statement, the three lawmakers said the proposed legislation would allow manufacturers in these ROZs to export “textile and apparel goods” to the United States without paying duties.

They also noted that the ROZs would bring “economic benefits” to both Afghanistan and Pakistan and would boost US efforts to promote peace in the region.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2021

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