ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has urged the Commerce Ministry to share the Terms of Reference (ToRs) on trade with Afghanistan.
In a letter to Joint Secretary Commerce Maria Kazi, FPCCI Vice President, Nasir Khan, has appreciated the Commerce Ministry's endeavour to initiate stakeholder's consultation on financial mode of trade with Afghanistan under the recently emerging situation.
The prime trade body says that Pakistan has regional advantages due to its agreements with Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan and has operationalised TIR convention, member of SCO; ECO could achieve milestone increase in its trade with these countries and could penetrate into CAREs. The gap is available for Pakistani products as India is losing ground.
Nisar Khan said as discussed in the meeting that the FPCCI to prepare viable proposals for trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, in which, the verification and other ingredient to resolve the issue of exports and imports proceeds in both the countries are settled, the MoC should invite the FPCCI and share ToRs for preparing a position paper for submitting suggestions on this issue.
However, the vice president has proposed that the proceed should be settled for exports and imports in Pak rupees and the SBP or the FPCCI representative can be stationed in the embassy of Pakistan/Afghanistan in order to take care of trade and collection of PKR or US dollars or any other currency in practice, for trade and its spillover affects to integrate CAREs, Afghanistan, Russia, and beyond, due to Pakistan's regional and strategic position.
He maintained that such kinds of interim arrangement will pick-up the pace of situation, wherein, Pakistan has the first available advantages to introduce made-in-Pakistan as well as re-exports with value addition.
He is of the view that the SBP should develop guidelines covering the imports/exports between Pakistan and Afghanistan, whereas, the Ministry of Commerce may consider relaxing the exports policy order by allowing settlement of exports of all food items and other goods that are not prohibited. He further stated that any other goods may also be allowed imports/exports between both the countries on case-to-case basis with value addition.
Addressing a function, he informed that the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan was over US 2.5 billion dollars few years ago but recently, it has shrunk to only $1.5 billion dollars, in which, Pakistan's exports are $871 million and imports from Afghanistan are $518 million and Pakistan is still a beneficiary.
He also said that the present regime in Afghanistan favours trade and Pakistani products that show immediate increase in our exports orders. On the other hand, high transportation cost and exit of India from new regional dynamics, Pakistan has opportunities to increase its exports, particularly, exports of food items, which are in demand in Afghanistan.
While representing the FPCCI in the meeting, Engr MA Jabbar former vice president FPCCI saidthat Pakistan has regional advantages due to its agreements with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and has operationalised TIR convention, member of SCO, ECO could achieve milestone increase inits trade with these countries and could penetrate into CAREs.
The gap is available for Pakistani products as India is losing ground. He also suggested that to settle exports to Afghanistan, the SBP may establish its desk or third party or FPCCI Desk to verify imports and exports. Other option could be trade in Pak rupees for this interim period. He also emphasised that the SBP should be pro-business and trade. In order to avail opportunities, the SBP should be liberal and workout a plan to achieve this goal.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021