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PESHAWAR: The Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sarhad Chamber) has urged the government to take pragmatic steps to remove hurdles in the way of bilateral and transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially enhancement of exports with central Asian republic countries.

The demand was made during a joint meeting of the Sarhad Chamber standing committee on Afghanistan & Central Asian Republic Countries (CARs) trade promotion and Pak-Afghan transit traders, which was chaired by the committees chairman and former senior vice president of Sarhad Chamber Shahid Hussain, here at the chamber house.

Engr Manzoor Elahi, the incumbent senior vice president of the chamber, member Ammar Ansari, Iqbal Yusaf, Islmail Khan, representatives of relevant stakeholders, importers and exporters were present in the meeting.

The participants on the occasion pointed to the major hurdles and issues, which were impeding bilateral trade, transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and gave a number of suggestions for their amicable resolution.

They were of the view that the mutual and transit trade between the two neighbouring countries has adversely affected because of lack of adequate facilities at both sides of borders and imposing of unilateral policies, because of which, they noted, a significant drop in volume of Pak-Afghan bilateral trade was witnessed.

Shahid Hussain said the government of Pakistan took proactive measures for bringing improvement in the border management system while efforts were made by the Afghan government to address problems exporters and importers amicably.

Manzoor Elahi while speaking on the occasion said owing to concerted efforts of the Sarhad Chamber, the customs authorities had reduced duties on more than 53 exporting items to Afghanistan, while reduction was made in ratio of taxes on some importing items by the Afghan government as well.

The chamber office bearer said that the incumbent government was taking proactive measures to give a boost to bilateral trade, transit trade with Afghanistan as well as enhance exports to Central Asian Republic countries.

He emphasised that it was a dire need of the hour to promote trade with CARs states. He suggested that a joint venture between Pakistan and Afghanistan traders should be launched to improve the bilateral and transit trade between the two neighbouring countries.

Manzoor Elahi told the meeting that member of Customs FBR, Tariq Huda on recommendation of Sarhad Chamber, during the last meeting with him, issued instructions to include exporting items to CARs countries into Web-based One Customs (WeBoC) system, for which highly thankful to him and appreciated for this good step.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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