Yes to Afghan transit trade, no to Indian goods

Govt approves US-mediated Afghan transit trade, disallows transport of Indian export goods through Pakistan.


Express October 07, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet approved a US-mediated transit trade agreement with Afghanistan on Wednesday, but kept its scope restricted by disallowing the transport of Indian export goods to the war-torn country through its lands.

Although no justification was given for curbing Indian exports to Afghanistan, officials in the past have been citing ‘hyped’ security concerns as the major reason.

The signing of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) will give Afghan export consignments for India access up to Wagah border. Afghan trucks with export items for India will be allowed to drive through the country to Karachi.

Indian containers of export items for Afghanistan would not be allowed to enter through Wagah border, the government announced here on Wednesday.

The trade between India and Afghanistan through sea routes will, however, continue to take place under the previous arrangement.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told the media after the cabinet meeting that Pakistan would be the ultimate winner of this agreement.

In return of allowing India-Afghan trade, Pakistan will have access to Central Asian Republics (CAR) through Afghanistan.

Kaira said it would largely help Pakistani manufacturers and exporters and the country was expected to earn up to $2 billion foreign exchange through this arrangement. “It is going to be a very significant facility for our manufacturers and exporters,” Kaira said.

Energy agreement

The minister said the cabinet had also approved a $980 million agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a French agency to overcome energy shortage in Pakistan.

Under the agreement, mercury bulbs will be replaced with energy savers and the old machinery in generation companies will also be overhauled.

A cabinet committee has been constituted to further examine and finalise some clauses of the agreement within a week, Kaira added.

The minister said the cabinet also approved to sign the Framework Arrangement between Pakistan and Korea regarding economic development cooperation fund (EDCF) loan assistance of $180 million.

Pakistan Housing Authority

The cabinet also approved the proposal for granting autonomous status to the Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA).

Furthermore, an agreement on economic and technical cooperation between Pakistan and the Arab Republic of Egypt was agreed upon. Kaira added that the cabinet approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding on statistical cooperation between the governments of Iran and Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2010.

COMMENTS (6)

Sultan Ahmed. | 11 years ago | Reply transit trade mediated by the united states, has been blocked by increasing insurgency, so new ways required , now being legalized the transportation, through which fuel and required materials have to send across the border for the armed forces stationed in Afghanistan.
Anoop | 11 years ago | Reply @witness, China exports to all the way to America. Surely, it is cheaper for India to get it to Iran and then to Afghanistan. We already export to Iran so one other country. Also, since we built that port we dont have to pay anything to the Iranians to use it. It would cost less to India if Wagah is opened to Afghanistan but if if is not then it doesn't mean exports to Afghanistan is costly. The only beneficiary of opening up the Wagah route is ignoring the advantages. I call it foolishness. Even India and China are rivals but our annual trade is around $60 Billion. This is how mature economies and states behave. Its like the proverb , cutting off the nose to spite its face.
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