Transit trade: Afghan exporters exempted from tariff

Published: November 27, 2010
Trucks carrying the Afghan transit trade supply wait for customs clearance in the border town of Chaman. PHOTO: PPI

Trucks carrying the Afghan transit trade supply wait for customs clearance in the border town of Chaman. PHOTO: PPI

ISLAMABAD: Afghan exporters have been exempted from the existing tariff under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, an official source told The Express Tribune on Monday.

The transit trade agreement will become operational by January 1, 2011, the source added. However, the trade agreement is yet to be ratified by the federal cabinet and President Asif Ali Zardari, the source said, adding that a separate tariff has been evolved by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for the Afghan exporters.

Financial and legal experts from both sides are being consulted to chalk out the accord’s modalities.  A meeting between officials of the FBR and ministries of communication, law and other departments concerned in Islamabad on Monday re-examined the agreement to give it a final shape.

The meeting resolved some of the most crucial issues of the trade agreement through mutual consultation.

In terms of the tariff concession for Afghan exporters, it was decided that they would follow the existing tariff but the amount paid by them would be returned on their way back to Afghanistan from Wagah after deducting duty in accordance with the new tariff.

The official said that it was incorrect to suggest that the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was not taken into confidence before signing the agreement. All stakeholders were on board during negotiations with the Afghan government and the drafting of the agreement documents, he said.

“So much so that transporters from Balochistan, Khyber-Pukhtukhwa and other parts of the country were also consulted,” he remarked, adding that the agreement was in Pakistan’s interest as it would open doors for trade with Central Asian countries.

The ratification of the trade agreement will give Afghan export consignments for India access up to the Wagah border.

In exchange for allowing the India-Afghan trade, Pakistan will be given access to the Central Asian Republics (CAR) through Afghanistan.

Afghan trucks, with export items for India, will be allowed to drive through the country to Karachi. The deal, however, does not allow India a trade corridor through Pakistan to Afghanistan. The trade between India and Afghanistan through sea routes will, however, continue under the previous arrangement.The government had said that Indian containers of export items for Afghanistan would not be allowed to enter via the Wagah border.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • SK
    Nov 27, 2010 - 12:23PM

    Couple of observations here:

    Pakistani govt under US’ intense pressure is bowing down to Afghanistan’s whim. While govt is shoving up RGST and other tons of taxes on poor masses and domestic industries, those Afghans who are the MOST THANKLESS AND CORRUPT 31-years old migrants I have ever seen, are being accommodated- this is noting but suicidal- why doesn’t govt charge them tarrifs? While I am at it, why doesn’t govt charge petrol levy on thousands of liter which it provides to NATO in Afghanistan and drones and helis are using that very same fuel to kill our Pakistani brethren- SHAME on all govt and opposition parties for falling in line for vested interest

    This has to be funny statement that Afghanistan will send loaded trucks to India while these trucks will come back empty. What does Afghanistan has to export? some fruits but mostly heroin and bomb making material? Does govt really think that masses are fool enough not to understand that it has also done underhand deal to allow India to be actual exporter under the garb of this agreement. In rarest of the cases if it is ture that its only Afghani stuff which will officially go to India, who are we still trying to fool- the same govt functionaries will form a nexsus with rangers and all others involved and fully loaded trucks will still pass from India to Afghanistan- SHAME on all govt and opposition parties for falling in line for vested interestsRecommend

  • nasreen
    Nov 28, 2010 - 10:06AM

    @sk, dear don’t be emotional, firstly dont critisize the afghan nation non of us can turn blind eyes over what our hypocratical govts have been doing to afghanistan.lets be honest that poor afghanistan has been ruined by non others but this hypocratical state,who supported so called mujhideen,who sent the one eyed mullah umer,who paved the routs for amerians to attack afghanistan. The ground realities r to b seen, even now our agencies r invoved in supporting the fighters across the border.the peace in af is linked with non interuuption of us only. I’m happy whatevr bad is happening to us, because history reapeats itself and as you sow so shall you reap.. Its time for us to reap… Recommend

  • Muhammad Anwar
    Nov 28, 2010 - 5:21PM

    Dear Readers, I am always surprised why we have negative approaches towards Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement. Did we fought with Afghanistan ? No! Did we fought with Central Asian Republics since they are independent? No! Did we fought with Iran? No! Did we fought with China? No! We only had wars with India and our historical background says that we as Muslim nation can not live with India. We have closed our borders with India for trade but still our trade is around $2 billion with her, almost equal to the Afghanistan. I accept that if we allow Afghan trucks to move with cargo till India and vice versa there can be pilferages and smuggling that is not acceptable to us. We have to look into solutions for this not declines the Transit Agreement. The Transit Trade agreement is existing since 1965 and it is part of our customs act 1969 and it was ratified by the parliament of both countries, which is a slow pace agreement. This new agreement is reformed face of 1965’s Afghan Transit Trade Agreement.

    If we decline this new agreement it mean we are declining the UN convention on Road Transport where we are also signatory with hundreds others nations. Under UN convention on Road Transport (IRU or TIR) the member countries transport (commercial trucks) can move freely within the territories of member states.

    The struggle of US in making, signing and supporting this agreement is really a question mark. Our fears that India and US will take undue advantage of this agreement should be concerned.

    I am confident that our security agencies that are Custom Intelligence, Anti-smuggling, ANF, FC, Military and others should not let harm to our economic activities and breach of security by any power. We have to make these agencies stronger by providing them latest security, vigilance and armed equipments. We must strengthen our judicial systems for smuggling and spy cases. The smugglers should be punished in public for their heinous crimes.

    In my opinion these are the steps we have to take for better economic activities rather than negating transit trade with our neighboring countries.Recommend

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