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ISLAMABAD: Tajikistan and Pakistan are to establish Transit Trade Coordination Committee (TPTTCC), under ATPTT signed on December 14, 2022 which would be responsible for monitoring and facilitating the implementation of the agreement, official sources told Business Recorder.

Sharing the details, the sources said, President of Tajikistan had visited Pakistan on 2-3 June 2021 and had expressed a desire for establishing a strategic partnership for regional integration. As mentioned in the Joint Declaration, Tajikistan had been offered to avail facility of Pakistani seaports and CPEC, highlighting that Pakistan offers the most economic and efficient route to the Central Asian Republics (CARs) including Tajikistan.

As part of the vision of the government, to make Pakistan a trade, transit and transshipment hub, and to enhance regional connectivity with Central Asia, after signing of transit trade agreement with Uzbekistan, draft transit trade agreement was shared with Tajikistan last year. Tajikistan was then reliant on the Iranian seaport of Bandar Abbas, but was also keen to have access to seaports of Pakistan. The connectivity with Central Asian States would enhance regional trade of Pakistan and give boost to Pakistan’s seaports specially Gwadar.

After approval of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Commerce organized technical negotiations sessions with Tajik side from Sept 2021 - Dec 2022.

Pakistan wants establishment of energy, road connectivity with CARs: PM Shehbaz

The Following Ministries/organizations participated in the sessions led by Ministry of Commerce and provided input: (i) Ministry of Foreign Affairs; (ii) Ministry of Communication; (iii) Ministry of Law and Justice;(iv) Federal Board of Revenue; (v) Ministry of National Food Security and Research; (vi) Ministry of Maritime Affairs; and (vii) Ministry of Railways.

The Agreement between Tajikistan and Pakistan had been negotiated and finalized, covering trade and transit of goods by road and rail along with customs procedures, largely on the template of Transit Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Uzbekistan, which was a comprehensive agreement, implemented since March 2022. The Agreement between Tajikistan and Pakistan on Transit Trade (ATPTT) would give access of Pakistani sea ports to Tajikistan and Kirghizstan had provided the access to Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China for Pakistani trade goods through land route. This would help in enhancing trade and regional connectivity and open the doors for increasing Pakistan’s exports to Uzbekistan and harnessing the potential of a $ 96 billion market in Central Asia.

The highlights of the agreement are as follows: (i) transit trade between Tajikistan and Pakistan must have taken place along pre-determined routes and only utilizing specified ports and border crossings; (ii) Tajikistan and Pakistan were obligated to ensure that suitable infrastructure and personnel were available at border crossings and at entry/exit points and other customs notified places, on reciprocal basis;(iii) while each country remains responsible for licencing transport operators (e.g. trucking firms) registered in their territory, Tajikistan and Pakistan would have issued Vehicle permits on the basis of which, transport operators would be able to transport goods through the other country’s territory;(iv) The Tajik government should recognize Pakistani driver’s licences and vehicle registration documents, and vice versa;(vi) The Tajik and Pakistani governments should expedite and simplify the process for awarding multiple-entry visas to truck drivers from one another’s country;(vii) with the exception of selected perishable items, goods transiting through Tajikistan and Pakistan should be stored in sealed containers meeting international specifications; (viii) Tajikistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Committee (TPTTCC), which would be established under the ATPTT, would been responsible for monitoring and facilitating the implementation of the agreement; (ix) grievances redressal mechanism; and (x ) dispute settlement mechanism and arbitration.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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