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PESHAWAR: Pakistani and Afghan traders have called for review of the recent restrictions on import of 14 items under Afghan transit trade (ATT) to allow the clearance of the containers that arrived at Karachi port before the issuance of the SRO.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) through an SRO has imposed 10% processing fee on Afghanistan bound goods imported under Afghan transit trade and has also banned the import of 14 items under the arrangement.

After these restrictions the clearance of the containers of goods imported under ATT has stopped and so far the number of such containers has climbed to 3380.

Afghanistan transit trade agreement: MoC allows transportation of goods already landed at Karachi

These containers have been stuck-up at the four terminals of the Karachi Sea Port for last three weeks and the traders have to pay detention charges at rate of Rs.160 to Rs.180 per container on daily basis.

Talking to this scribe, Zalmi Azeemi, an official of the Nangarhar Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Jalalabad (Afghanistan) called for segregation of politics from trade by the government of Pakistan and Afghanistan and resolution of political issues through political and diplomatic means.

He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan have always enjoyed friendly and brother relations and even these ties remained cordial even with Taliban authorities. But, all of sudden it had deteriorated to extent, which is inflicting financial losses on the traders and general public of both countries.

The Afghan importer said that due to restrictions, a large number of containers are stuck up at Karachi port, and other importers have diverted their containers towards Bandar Abbas port of Iran.

He said that such type of steps causing losses to traders and even after normalization of relations with Taliban, they will not be remained in favour of transit trade via Pakistan.

He said that they are keen for friendly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan as the people of both countries are tied in the bond of the same language, religion and culture and will never become the cause of worsening relations between them.

In this connection, Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, a coordinator of Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that ban on 14 items in transit trade is actually restriction on 212 different items. He said that 18 years ago, the government of Pakistan had have banned 17 items under the arrangement.

Such restrictions in past have proved detrimental to the economy of the country and Pakistan Railways faced a loss of Rs.3 billion in head of freight per annum while those items were used to reached Afghanistan through aero planes on daily basis from different Middle Eastern countries and then smuggled into Pakistan.

He added that through another SRO issued on October 3, 2023, 10% processing fee has been imposed on the goods of Afghan transit trade, when about 2000 cargoes of the transit trade were arrived at Karachi port and called for their clearance under the procedure of post October 3 2023 as the Bill of Leading (BL) of these goods were issued before the promulgation of the SRO concerned.

Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi has demanded of the federal government to review its decision and allow the transportation of those containers to Afghanistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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WarrenDesiBuffet Oct 23, 2023 09:32am
If goods can come via Iran to Afghanistan, much better. Pakistanis will cheat our own country far more than Afghans will. Lifting ban means 50 rupees fall in USD exchange rate. Stand strong General Asim! We need you to eradicate the border smuggling mafias including in your institution.
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Tulukan Mairandi Oct 23, 2023 11:32am
Should add Coal and Dried Fruits to the list.
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Nawaz Oct 23, 2023 11:46am
PAKistan Should work for the elimination of Smuggling
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Hassan Farooq Oct 23, 2023 11:48am
This Topi drama of Afghan traders should now stop. They are stealing our dollars and burning our economy. Gen Asim is our last hope. I don't know what will happen after elections because politicians are the main culprit in this smuggling. But i hope this ban and 10% processing fee will not be lifted in the near future.
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