Pakistan allows Afghan trucks to carry goods up to Wagah Border, makes 80% reduction in scanning of Afghan transit cargo and to clear 90% of Afghan cargo on the first day: Commerce Minister
Kabul, April 16, 2015 (PPI-OT): In order to facilitate Afghan traders and businessmen, Pakistan made certain decisions to encourage and boost bilateral trade between the two countries. The decisions were announced by the Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan, in a crowded press conference held in Embassy of Pakistan, Kabul, today.
Highlighting details of the decisions to facilitate Afghan Transit Trade, the minister said that Pakistan had reduced the scanning process of Afghan transit cargo from 100% to 20% and now only 20% of the cargo would be subjected to scanning leading to a clearance of 90% of Afghan consignments from 24 to 48 hours. Earlier, 100% of the cargo had to undergo scanning process.
He said that the government has also allowed Afghan trucks to carry goods not only to Wagah Border but to bring Pakistani goods on their way back to Afghanistan. He also highlighted the efforts made by the Government of Pakistan to operationalise Pakistan Railways for transit of Afghan cargo.
Pakistan Railways is in the process of arranging to carry 400 containers of Afghan transit cargo per week to Torkhem and Chaman by 1st July 2015. He said that the government has taken these decisions to address the concerns and long-standing demands of Afghan traders, says a press release received here today from Kabul.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that the Government of Pakistan attached utmost significance to its ties with Afghanistan and wanted to improve its economic relations with its brotherly country. He said that it was the earnest desire of Pakistan to promote economic integration with Afghanistan which would bring prosperity not only to the two countries but also to the entire region.
He expressed satisfaction over the improvement in the trade relations between the two countries, saying economic ties are gaining momentum during the recent months as a result of enhanced dialogue, high level visits and confidence building measures undertaken by the respective governments of the two countries.
Regarding his meetings with President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, National Economic Advisor, Dr. Omar Zakhilwal and his counterpart, Mr. Muzammil Shinwari, the minister said that he held very fruitful discussions with them which would go a long way in promoting economic relation. He said that he also raised various issues, with the Afghan President and Commerce Minister, which are required to be implemented by the Afghan government.
He enunciated the issues like finalization of the draft on Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Afghanistan, currently lying with the Afghan government for approval; removal of financial guarantees on Pakistani goods which are being charged at 110% of the customs duty and tonnage fee at rate of $100 per 25 ton on goods which are in transit to Central Asia; Avoidance of double taxation agreement; Issues of multiple entry visas for Pakistani businessmen and skilled workers; and lifting of ban on transit of LPG via Afghanistan to Pakistan.
The minister explained the benefits of PTA, saying it would help in giving more market access to Afghan goods in Pakistani market and would also address issue of smuggling while double taxation agreement would facilitate investment in both countries.
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Haji Ahmed Malik
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Category: General Business News