Pak-Afghan trade forum concludes to promote bilateral trade
PESHAWAR: The two-day Pak-Afghan Trade and Investment Forum concluded with a number of recommendations in various sectors including manufacturing, services, food, agriculture, mining, tourism, and health to promote trade and investment between the two countries. Both sides expressed their resolve to implement all the doable recommendations in letter and spirit to take the bilateral trade volume to the true potential. The forum recommended that Afghanistan needed to develop infrastructure on their side at crossing points in order to facilitate trade and transit. It was also recommended that regular periodical meetings of APTTCA should be convened with due participation of stakeholders from both the countries. The other recommendations are as following. Demurrage and containers detentions charges should be waived off on containers that were being stranded due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic Eliminate the need for physical examinations and increase the number of scanners and eliminate the de-facto barriers for partial shipment clearance 6. Pre-notification of customs valuations rates and should be on the basis of WTO rules. Mechanism should be in place for ensuring prevention of illegal extortions including private parking yard at zero crossing point 8. All steps needed to ease out the business that are currently suffering due to the current covid-19 Pandemic. Cost of doing business should be minimized and scanning should be done away. Shipping lines and port terminals must be bound to rationalize their charges. Trade and traders must be respected to regain the level of confidence between the two neighboring countries. Cross stuffing must be allowed from shipping lines containers to privately owned containers of transit trade practitioners. Pakistani trucks must be allowed to move up-to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan border, similarly Afghan trucks and vehicles should be allowed to move up to Wagah Border and Karachi Sea Port. Facilitation and investment in Railway line for operations of Transit Cargos. Pakistan’s Foreign Mission in Jalalabad should be requested to issue road passes for an uninterrupted flow of trucks and vehicles. The time limit should be increased for Pakistani trucks and cargo for crossing Afghanistan and unloading on the border of Tajikistan. Improvement in railways services including addition of goods transports companies, under customs supervision apart from bonded carriers. Apart from bonded carriers and the railways private trucks should be allowed under Customs supervisions to minimize the freight of ATT. The Chaman border must be operationalized 24/7. Border facilitations on Afghan side of Torkham border must be undertaken immediately. Preference should be given to perishable goods; they must be cleared immediately upon arrival. Clearance time at the ports and borders should be minimized to one day. The progress and recommendations of the last 7 to 8 APTTCA meetings should be brought forward and discussed. There is a need to have a high-level technical field visit before the next APTTCA meeting that will facilitate in further identifying the challenges of Pak Afghan Transit and Trade. Excess weight limit is strictly observed on Afghanistan side the same should be observed on Pakistan side in order to coincide and standardize load/weight limits. The Afghanistan side gives only 5 days for transit shipment of CARs to cross its territory therefore they charged 5000 AFG fine per container per day, this should be done away with immediately as there are problems en route. It was recommended that SUST being the shortest corridor must be utilized in order to save the time in transit trade business. In order to accelerate the process of transit cargo either one of procedure of physical examination or scanning should be done, in case a cargo is physically examined so that should be exempted from scanning process. The issue of big size cargo that is unable to go through scanners should be resolved immediately. Driving license for Afghan refugees living in Pakistan should be provided in order to facilitate road pass. Free days for Detension should be increased to 40 days and Demmurage to 15 days. Traders from Afghanistan should be allowed to open bank accounts in Pakistan.  Currently there are two Afghan items on Pakistan’s negative items list these pending two items (auto parts and cigarettes) should be removed from the list. Change of customs crossing border should be at the disposal of the customers. Immediate actions should be taken to allow partial shipments. Road pass with at least one year expiry should be issued to traders for both side of the border in order to reduce cost and save time. - APP = { $u { $U= { $u { $�= { $u { $-= { $u { �= { $u { $= { $u { $q= { $u { $�= { $u { I= { $u { �= { $u { != { $u { �= { $u { �= { $u { e= { $u { �= { $u { == { $u { �= { $u { $= { $u { �= { $u { �= { $u { Y= { $u { �= { $u { A= { $u { $�= { $u { = { $u { $�= { $u { �= { $u { $]= { $u { $�= { $u { $5= { $u { �= { $u { $ = { $u { $� { ({E{��