PESHAWAR: Transit trade between Afghanistan and India via Pakistan assumed centre-stage at a seminar held in Peshawar on Friday.
A large number of businessmen attended the event titled, ‘Strengthening Regional Trade: Between the SAARC and the Central Asian Regions’. The seminar was organised by Economic Freedom Network Pakistan in collaboration with Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), a Germany-based organisation working to improve socio-economic, business and political activism all over the world, particularly in developing countries.
Speaker of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Asad Qaiser was the guest of honour whereas Afghanistan Ambassador Janan Musazai and Tajikistan Ambassador Sher Ali Jononov addressed the seminar.
Adnan Jalil, former vice president for Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) and Dr Almut Besold of FNF welcomed the participants and discussed the various business opportunities that investors can avail in the region.
Speaking on the occasion, Musazai said Pakistan’s business relations with Central Asian republics are dependent on allowing for transit trade between Afghanistan and India via Pakistan.
“During the fifth Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) meeting held in January, both sides decided that registered trucks from Afghanistan will be allowed to transport cargo to Wagah Border with a letter of guarantee issued by the Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Civil Aviation,” he said. “Moreover, they decided that export will no longer be restricted to fruits and vegetables.”
According to Musazai, it was further agreed that the federal government would make all necessary amendments to its rules and regulations to allow all Afghan cargo to be exported to India through Wagah Border.”
However, he said, these commitments have yet to be honoured by Pakistan.
The Afghan Ambassador quoted Section 1x, Article 33 A of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), which states, “Rules and procedures affecting transit traffic treatment applied to transporters from the other contracting party [Afghanistan in this case] shall be no less favourable than applied to their own like service providers.”
He said trucks from Pakistan are allowed to unload cargo at the integrated Check Post (ICP) in Attari and return with Indian goods that are allowed to be imported through Wagah Border to Pakistan. He demanded similar policies for the Afghan trucks, engaged in transit trade with India through Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2015.
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