PAJCCI calls for long-term sustainable trade with Afghanistan

PESHAWAR – The Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) has organized a meeting of Pak-Afghan trade stakeholders here in the provincial metropolis, a city most closely linked to Afghanistan not only by culture and language, but also geographically.

The meeting chaired by PAJCCI Vice President, Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, calls for sustainable and long-term trade with Afghanistan as the only way to ensure mutual prosperity and economic stability in Pakistan. The meeting was attended by engineer Said Mahmood; Deputy Chairman of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment & Trade and Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Tajikistan, Arbab Qaiser; Director of Transit Trade, Amanatullah; Transit Trade AC, Muhammad Tayyab; AC Customs, Col Aziz Khattak; GM NLC BTS KP, a large number of business community members from Swat, Kurram, Khyber, Sarhad & Mohmand Chamber of Commerce & Industries, senior officials from Pakistan Customs, National Logistics Cell, Transit Trade, TDAP as well as local and national media.

Zia Sarhadi informed the forum of the continued efforts of PAJCCI and its President, Zubair Motiwala and Co-President, Khan Jan Alokozai; both have not only provided information to government officials, but have also helped raise the voice of the business community at the level of the respective prime ministers. Secretary General PAJCCI; Faiza, shared quarterly updates, recent issuance of TAD SRO, written third party payment process by State Bank of Pakistan, formation of border committee in Chaman on lines similar to Torkham for rapid resolution of issues, extension of the E-From & EIF waiver for an additional 45 days from July 1, 2022.

Current trade barriers such as SRO for cross-stuffing, processing of sales tax refund claims and duty refunds in case of land trade and PKR are ongoing and PAJCCI is in constant communication with the relevant authorities . Responding to various questions regarding the barter trade, she informed that the joint forum at the 9th meeting of the discussion group agreed on all the components of the barter trade mechanism as an additional trade tool, a monitoring matrix of the project has been designed with actions, responsibilities and deadlines that will be supervised. by the AICC, the Ministry of Commerce and the PAJCCI as a pilot chamber. The draft proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Commerce on June 17, 2022 for government clearance and approval. In addition, PAJCCI is also working with the Ministry of Commerce to add more items under the PKR trade category to circumvent the currency crunch facing both countries.

Engineer Said Mahmood (VC KPBOIT) appreciated PAJCCI’s efforts on behalf of the business community and provided a detailed overview of historical relations with Afghanistan, in particular bilateral trade and the potential for transit trade through the Afghanistan to CAR. He highlighted the persistent congestion problems in Torkham, the decrease in trade volume due to the lack of a coherent and consistent trade policy with Afghanistan. Economic and trade policy, especially with the nearest neighbor, must be above any political change in either country, must be long-term and sustainable. He said that Pakistan will not lose its neighborly trade and economic relations due to the profitable and efficient trade potential having high demand for Pakistani products and due to the unique geographical location dependent on Pakistan for bilateral and transit trade. .

In addition, PAJCCI is also working with the Ministry of Commerce to add more items under the PKR trade category to circumvent the currency crunch facing both countries.

Participants provided feedback on all issues related to KP border crossings and suggested resolutions were also discussed. The main issue that has been discussed is the congestion in Torkham, which leads to container clearance after 15-20 days due to minor operational issues and multiple security checks on both sides. If there is a delay in the payment of customs clearance by a carrier, the rest is also delayed, one-lane and two-lane road congestion has long been required by business, but there is no has not been a positive development on this front. Kurram & Miranshah bank branches have a maximum cap of PKR 40 million per day, which will be increased to at least PKR 120 million per day to ensure payments are processed in line with ongoing trading volume.

At present, the Afghan government has withheld the import of milk and pharmaceuticals from Pakistan without giving reasons. Low utilization of dry port facilities in Azakhel and utilization of Pakistan Railways were also discussed. Participants appreciated that the operationalization of the TAD will bring relief to carriers and the trading community on both sides with the assurance of legal trade flourishing and proper monitoring of the trade support ecosystem. The finalization of stripping and transshipment is still in progress due to the complex nature of the requirements, but once operational will significantly reduce the cost of doing business, securing cargo to destination, reducing congestion and delays . The house appreciated PAJCCI’s initiative to launch the support fund for people affected by the recent earthquake in Afghanistan and agreed to make contributions.

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