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ISLAMABAD: Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has requested State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to allow trade in cash with Afghanistan until restoration of formal banking channels.

In a letter to Governor SBP, a copy of which has also been sent to Finance Minister Shuakat Tarin, FPCCI President Mian Naseer Hyatt Maggo has stated that the country’s business was making all out efforts to increase their export with businessmen in Afghanistan/Central Asian States (CARs) and earning foreign exchange for the country.

He said trade facilitation with Afghanistan in the current circumstances should be excluded from formal procedural handicaps.

The total trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan is about $1.389 billion, of which Pakistan’s export stood at $871 million while imports from Afghanistan are $518 million.

Maggo is of the view that bilateral trade is witnessing substantial surge due to present political environment in Afghanistan that favours Pakistani products and most favourable geographical position can captive positive growth.

He has apprehended that gradual demand in Afghanistan may be filled from other countries if Pakistan is not overcoming the procedural requirements for converting into trade facilitations. As per past practice of decade wherein, exporters were facilitated with cash counters i.e. cash convertible currencies brought over the counters for the purpose of settlement of export to Afghanistan. However, the para 2(ii) of SBP Notification of December 7, 2021, creating hurdles in the smooth transaction of exports proceeds thereby restricting available opportunities to export to Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics.

The apex body has strongly suggested the SBP to review/allow cash dollar submission/deposit until the banking channels are restored bilaterally between Pakistan and Afghanistan/CARs before it is too late.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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