ISLAMABAD: The government has waived additional customs duty and regulatory duty on several items and reduced duty on import of essential goods from Afghanistan for six months.

The move will help the Taliban government generate foreign exchange through exports.

Through a notification, the government waived the duty on import of coal, bituminous coal, talc, marble (crude or roughly trimmed), plants & parts of plants (including seed & fruit), seeds of cumin neither crushed nor grounded, sulphur of all kinds, other than sublimed Sulphur, yams (Dioscorea spp.) and containers (including containers for the transport of fluids) from Afghanistan.

Through another notification, the regulatory duty on import of marble (crude or roughly trimmed) was exempted and regulatory duty on import of ground nuts in shell was reduced from 20 per cent to 10pc. These notifications will remain effective till June 30 next year.

Move to help Taliban govt generate forex through exports

Through yet another notification, the Federal Board of Revenue exempted additional customs duty on import of man-made fibres, seeds of cumin neither crushed nor ground, plants or parts of plants, sulphur of all kinds, other than sublimed sulphur, precipitated sulphur and colloidal sulphur, talc, marble and travertine--crude or roughly trimmed, bituminous coal, other coal, containers (including containers for the transport of fluids) specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport.

Pakistan’s imports from Afghanistan went up by 99pc to $18.960 million in July-August 2021 from$9.514m over the same months of last year.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has extended the facility of cash convertible currencies as export proceeds for settlement of export to Afghanistan and Central Asian States, which had expired on October 15, 2021. The facility is now extended until December 31, 2021.

Under the facility, authorised dealers will accept cash convertible currencies brought over their counters as export proceeds without asking for customs declaration for passengers. On July 2, 2021, the SBP issued a circular revising the procedures and made it mandatory for exporters to show evidence of the dollars at the time of issuing Form E.

The change was resisted by the stakeholders, including exporters and the SBP, put the requirements were put in abeyance until October 15, 2021, which was further extended to December 31, 2021.

To facilitate the exporters of perishable products, the government has allowed exports of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, meat and fish in the Pak rupee to Afghanistan. The government has now added rice and pharmaceutical products to the list of exports to Afghanistan.

The SBP is also likely to include more items in the list for trading in the Pak rupee with Afghanistan.

Two other proposals are also under consideration to allow trade with Afghanistan through land routes in local currency or currency swap agreements.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2021

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