h1

Revoke or Revise APTTA: Bad for Pakistan

October 31, 2010

Under tremendous pressure from the US, Pakistan has signed the APTTA with Afghanistan. Almost every stipulation in the agreement is detrimental to to Pakistani business and security interests. The agreement has to be revoked and revised.

  • Afghanistan is bound to facilitate Pakistan transit trade with Central Asian countries, but it has instead imposed a number of restrictions on Pakistanis trading with Central Asian states via Afghanistan.
  • A Pakistani trader has to pay 2000-3000 dollars per container and it takes more than 15 days to complete cumbersome formalities.
  • Similarly, Afghan government charge 300 dollars from Pakistan traders per truck on transit consignment through Afghanistan from or to Central Asian states.
  • It would have bad impact on the local industry as well as Pakistani imports
  • Afghanistan imports vast quantities of black tea in excess of its  usage. The tea is later exported to Pakistan or smuggled into it hurting the local Pakistani businesses.

KARACHI (October 08, 2010) : The Pakistnai Business community has expressed concerns over new Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and fears that ineffective implementation of APTTA will increase smuggling. According to the information minister, Pakistan would allow Afghanistan a thoroughfare from Wagah to India and in return Pakistan would be allowed thoroughfare from Afghanistan to Central Asian countries, which is absolutely not the case.

Pakistan is already doing trade with Central Asian Republics and they charge 10 percent service charges, they said. They said that under existing Afghanistan Transit Trade (ATT), Afghanistan is bound to facilitate Pakistan transit trade with Central Asian countries, but it has instead imposed a number of restrictions on Pakistanis trading with Central Asian states via Afghanistan.

The Afghans government has made it mandatory for Pakistani traders to get their trade contracts with their central Asian counterparts and register with various afghan ministries. A Pakistani trader has to pay 2000-3000 dollars per container and it takes more than 15 days to complete cumbersome formalities. Similarly, Afghan government charge 300 dollars from Pakistan traders per truck on transit consignment through Afghanistan from or to Central Asian states.

Moreover, an amount equivalent to 110 percent afghan custom duties have to be deposited with the afghan custom at the time of entry of Pakistani transit goods into Afghanistan, to be refunded after deducting 20 percent of the deposited amount and presentation of cross border certificate.

Chairman, Pakistan Chemicals and Dyes Merchants Association (PCDMA), Muhammad Haroon Agar stated that PCDMA thinks that it would have bad impact on the local industry as well as Pakistani imports, in case concrete measures were not taken by the Pakistani government with regards to the approved Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).

Agar while commenting on the new APTTA said that it was the demand of the business community to revise the Afghan-Pak Transit Trade Agreement of 1965. Nevertheless, the Pakistan government was urged to put quantitative measures over the Afghan imports through sea and rationalise the tariffs/duties of imported items in line with figures applied to Pakistani importers.

He said, in case of allowing Afghan goods a thoroughfare to Wagah, they feel apprehension that the transit goods must not unlawfully enter into Pakistani markets and only be allowed in sealed containers installed with tracking devices. Agar said that they highly appreciated directives of the prime minister given to FBR, Interior and Commerce Ministry to avoid any misuse and co-ordinate altogether to control smuggling and rationalise the tariffs of tea, tyres, etc which are imperative measures to be taken as there is a likelihood that these would be smuggled back from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

Agar noted that in numbers of meetings held in Kabul or Islamabad, private sector was very well represented by former President-KCCI and Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh, Muhammad Zubair Motiwala while representing the business community and at the end of every meeting it was categorically stated that they cannot allow any by road trade through Wagah to India and all the pros and cons were discussed. However, explicit measures and surveillance is mandatory for all Afghan containers in transit to Wagah and back.

Agar said that it was but natural that in the absence of good bilateral relations with India, they were all doubtful about the trade. He opined that Afghanistan-India might do trade under international law through sea via Karachi. He said that in the name of thoroughfare, smuggling and involvement of unscrupulous elements must not exist.

Former President KCCI and leader of business community, Siraj Kassam Teli, former Presidents KCCI, Tahir Khaliq, M. Zubair Motiwala, Haroon Farooki and Anjum Nisar, President KCCI, Muhammad Saeed Shafiq, Senior Vice President Talat Mahmood and, Vice President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda in a joint statement reiterated that ATTA would only be acceptable if earlier proposed KCCI suggestions safeguarding the interests of Pakistan’s business and industrial community included and executed under Afghan Transit Trade Agreement.

The joint statement said, ATTA would only be beneficial for Pakistan if proper tariffs and duties were imposed and effective monitoring of trucks done. LCs should be imposed from Kabul to Wagah checkpoint and proper implementation and documentation carried out. The IT based chip system for the proper tracking of trucks in transit stood as a mandatory requirement in this regard.

Moreover, the lock in key should be made at entrance (Torkham border) with GoP’s seal and be properly monitored on exit (Wahgah border) that the seal is stuck and not broken. Though, the Prime Minister has directed the FBR, the Commerce Ministry and Interior Ministry to work in co-ordination to control smuggling, but assurance is needed that the transit facilities are not misused by the Afghan importers/exporters and the trucks carrying goods not unloaded in Pakistan during transit.

The press statement gave the reference of smuggling of black tea, which was imported to Afghanistan in high quantity, though the usage is far less in the country as compared to Pakistan. The tea is later exported to Pakistan through smuggling and this practice has crippled the tea industry of Pakistan. Through recently passed ATTA, government claims of visible improvement viz-a-viz transit trade and rationalising the $02 billion trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan which at present is being carried out irregularly. KCCI purviews that only time would tell, how effective the execution goes, as till yet the government is unsuccessful in curtailing smuggling from Afghanistan. Ineffective implementation of APTTA to promote smuggling

RECORDER REPORT

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: