Commerce Secretary Zafar Mehmood has stressed that Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) is not against the interests of Pakistan and will result in increased revenue for the country by providing access to landlocked central Asian markets.
He was speaking at the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), which he visited to hear concerns and suggestions of its members to facilitate commerce and industry.
Mehmood clarified that APTTA did not cover goods that were bound for Afghanistan for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since this was a military agreement and the Ministry of Commerce was not involved in it.
On the issue of cross-border smuggling, he said “we have taken strong measures to control smuggling under APTTA such as imposition of duty on imports which will only be returned once the goods safely reach Afghanistan through verification by tracking devices in transport vehicles.”
During the meeting, OICCI members highlighted key issues faced by multinational companies, including circular debt, patent matters of pharmaceutical sector, cross-border trade with India as well as security situation in Karachi which was disrupting business.
OICCI, which represents over 180 foreign companies doing business in Pakistan and contributes over 29 per cent to the country’s gross national product (GNP), praised the record level of exports, especially for textiles and agriculture-based products, which helped improve balance of payments and foreign exchange reserves of the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2011.