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KARACHI: A major breakthrough in regional connectivity as Pakistan has dispatched first transit cargo containing ‘Indian sugar’ to landlocked Uzbekistan under Pakistan Uzbekistan Transit Trade Agreement (PUTTA).

Speaking at an inaugural ceremony held at South Asia Port Terminal (SAPT) here on Thursday, Iftikhar Ahmed, Director General Transit Trade said that the transit trade between Pakistan and Uzbekistan had a win-win situation not only for both countries but Afghanistan as well. He said that around 90 tons of Indian sugar was dispatched to Uzbekistan under PUTTA.

Replying to a question, he said that Uzbekistan had only 2.5 percent imports from India while its major imports were from China and Korean, hoping that transit trade volume to Uzbekistan would increase to 300 containers per month, due to friendly relations between Pakistan and India.

Moreover, he said that all off-dock and on-dock terminals were directed to allocate separate space for off-loading and reloading of transit cargos to ensure proper security and added that transit cargos would take 14 days to reach the final destination.

He said that FBR had issued transit rules in November, 2021 and the concerned officers had made this herculean task possible in a short span of three months; adding that under PUTTA, Pakistan had an opportunity to get transit trade benefits of around US$300 billion trade between China and Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, Syed Abdul Jabbar Takhari, acting Consul General Afghanistan assured to provide safe and secured routes for all cargoes, transiting via Afghanistan to/from Pakistan. “All borders of Afghanistan are safe and there is no security issue. The Afghan government is poised to take all possible measures to ensure full-proof security to the transit cargo, moving via Afghanistan to their final destinations.”

He also urged the Pakistani authorities to resolve all issues related to ports and Pak-Afghan borders to facilitate Afghan traders at maximum. The customs and SAPT officials were present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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