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ISLAMABAD: The federal government is likely to amend Import Policy Order (IPO) aimed at allowing imports of goods of Afghan origin against Pak Rupees and without the requirement of Electronic Import Forms (EIF) for a period of one year only, subject to the condition that Afghan exporters provide a Certificate of Origin issued by Afghan Customs proving that the goods in question have originated from Afghanistan, sources close to Secretary Commerce told Business Recorder.

Sharing the details, sources said, in terms of paragraph 3(1) of the IPO, 2022 imports (into Pakistan) can be made against all modes of payment subject to the procedures prescribed by the State Bank of Pakistan.

Given the current political and economic situation in Afghanistan and absence of any formal banking infrastructure in the country, trade transactions have been badly impacted. On the recommendations of Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC), and on a summary submitted by Ministry of Commerce, the federal government allowed 14 additional goods/ class of goods to be exported to Afghanistan against Pak Rupees.

Moreover, to facilitate trade with Pakistan’s western neighbours, the government of Pakistan has established a regulatory framework for allowing trade under barter arrangements. In this regard, a formal mechanism has been notified for barter trade with Iran whereas efforts are afoot to provide a similar mechanism of barter trade for Afghanistan.

PM Shehbaz approves Afghan coal import for low-cost power generation

With regards to imports from Afghanistan, the requirement of EIF forms is waived for 45 days. In order to provide a short to medium term solution, an Inter-Ministerial meeting, attended by representatives of Ministry of Commerce, Federal Board of Revenue, Finance Division and State Bank of Pakistan, held on April 14, 2022, proposed to amend the IPO 2022 to allow imports from Afghanistan against Pak Rupees without the requirement of EIF forms for a period of six months, and the exemption to be available against import of all goods of Afghan origin, supported by a Certificate of Origin issued by Afghan Customs authorities. Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also recommended extension from waiver of EIF beyond June to facilitate export of Afghan fruits during the season.

Commerce Ministry has proposed that paragraph 3 (l) of the Import Policy Order 2022 may be amended to allow imports of goods of Afghan origin against Pak Rupees and without the requirement of EIF forms for a period of one year only, subject to the condition that Afghan exporters shall provide a Certificate of Origin issued by Afghan Customs proving that the goods in question have originated from Afghanistan.

One of the recommendations made during the meeting was that Ministry of Commerce may send summary to the Cabinet for amendments in IPO 2020 for allowing of imports settlement from Afghanistan in Pak Rupees for a period of six months.

Moreover, it was also recommended that there will be no restriction on the commodities to be imported from Afghanistan in Pak Rupees provided the Afghan exporters provide Certificate of Origin proving the commodities originate from Afghanistan.

The sources maintained that Exim Wing of Commerce Ministry was asked to get the proposal approved by the Secretary Commerce and draft summary and get concurrence from Federal Board of Revenue, Ministry of Finance and State Bank of Pakistan before seeking approval from the Cabinet for amendments in IPO 2020 for allowing of imports settlement from Afghanistan in Pak Rupee for a period of six months.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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