Prime Minister’s Adviser on Commerce and Industry, Abdul Razak Dawood on Monday reaffirmed the commitment to enhance trade and bilateral economic relations with Afghanistan in order to power regional integration.
While briefing the 17th meeting of the Standing Committee on Commerce, under the Chairmanship of Syed Naveed Qamar, in the Parliament House on Monday, he said that the government preferred enhancing regional trade and connectivity for connecting the whole region through improvement in Pakistan and Afghanistan transit trade, the adviser said.
Dawood stated that the government wishes to resolve all trade-related disputes with Afghanistan to validate the trade between two neighboring countries.
The Ministry of Commerce briefed the Committee on Afghan Pakistan Trade and revision of the Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) 2010. The Committee further discussed the institutional arrangements, challenges and issues in transit trade with Afghanistan.
The Committee was informed about why Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) was actually established. It was established to monitor the effective implementation of the agreement.
In addition, the Ministry added that one of the discouraging factors in Afghanistan Pakistan transit Trade is high terminal charges at Pakistani ports in terms of handling.
Non-competitive environment, non-utilization of Gwadar port, and lack of a regulatory mechanism to regulate terminal operators and shipping lines are endorsing high port charges in Pakistan.
The ministry is addressing issues like permits, delays in clearance of goods, difficulty in the registration of goods documents, insufficient space for clearance and handling of goods, delays, and other related issues.
The Chairman of the Committee(Syed Naveed Qamar)directed the Ministry of Commerce to add proposals of Honorable Members of the Committee in the exchange document. He further asked the Ministry of Commerce that the next agreement must be comprehensive and Pakistani exporters should be facilitated on priority. Moreover, the Committee showed its displeasure in absence of the Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in all three meetings on APTTA.