Minister Reaffirms for Increasing Trade, Economic Relations with Afghanistan

The Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Industry, Abdul Razak Dawood on Monday reaffirmed the commitment to enhance trade and bilateral economic relations with Afghanistan for increasing regional integration.

While briefing the 17th meeting of the Standing Committee on Commerce, under the Chairmanship of Syed Naveed Qamar, in the Parliament House on Monday, he said that the government prioritized enhancing regional trade and connectivity for connecting the whole region through improvement in Pakistan and Afghanistan transit trade, the adviser said.

Dawood said that the government wants to resolve all trade issues with Afghanistan to formalize the bilateral trade between both countries.

The Ministry of Commerce briefed the Committee on Afghan Pakistan Trade and revision of the Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (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.

The Ministry further added that one of the discouraging factors in Afghanistan Pakistan transit Trade is high terminal charges at Pakistani ports in terms of handling, storage charges are free days allow.

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

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, delays, and other related issues. The Chair directed the Ministry of Commerce to add proposals of Honorable Members of the Committee in the exchange document.

The Chairman of the Committee Syed Naveed Qamar, said to the Ministry of Commerce that the next agreement must be comprehensive and Pakistani exporters needed to be facilitated on priority.

The Committee showed its displeasure in absence of the Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in all three meetings on APTTA.

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