ISLAMABAD: Aimed at speedy consignments’ clearance process, Pakistan has decided to reduce the scanning process of Afghan transit cargo by 80% and clear 90% of goods on the first day of arrival.
Afghan traders had long been complaining about the delay of their imported goods at the Karachi port, however, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, said in Kabul on Thursday that now only 20% of the cargo would be subjected to scanning leading to a clearance of 90% of Afghan consignments from 24 to 48 hours. Earlier, 100% of the cargo had to undergo scanning process.
The minister wrapped up his three-day visit on a positive note after he met President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah, other senior officials and attended inaugural session of an exhibition of Pakistani products in the Afghan capital.
Khurram Dastagir told a news conference at Pakistani embassy in Kabul that Pakistan has also allowed Afghan trucks to carry goods not only to Wagah border but to bring Pakistani goods on their way back to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s acting commerce minister Muzammil Shinwari admitted that 80% of problems of the Afghan businessmen regarding the transit trade have been resolved during the three-day talks with the Pakistani ministers.
“Pakistan Railways is in the process of arranging to carry 400 containers of Afghan transit cargo per week to Torkham and Chaman by 1st July 2015,” the commerce minister said, adding that the government has taken these decisions to address the concerns and long-standing demands of Afghan traders.
He also raised various issues, with the Afghan president and commerce minister, including finalisation of the draft on Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Afghanistan, removal of financial guarantees on Pakistani goods which are being charged at 110% of the customs duty, issues of multiple entry visas for Pakistani businessmen and skilled workers.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2015.
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