American-Business Council suggests negative list under Afghan transit trade

KARACHI: American Business Council of Pakistan has urged the government to prepare a negative list of items under Afghan transit trade, which are not utilized in Afghanistan yet are imported and make their way into Pakistan.
The American Business Council in its trade policy for 2012-13 proposed that there should be a native list to protect local industrial output.
On the subject of Afghan-Pak Trade and Transit Agreement (APTTA), the council said that it allowed shipping trucks to transit goods within both nations. To tackle the issue of unauthorized trade, both countries had agreed to install tracking devices on transport units and customs information sharing (IT data and others) should be done.
In addition, it was also agreed that financial guarantees equal to the amount of import levies of Pakistan will have to be deposited by authorized brokers or customs clearing agents, which will be released after the goods exit Pakistan.
Contrary to this, Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) is causing unlimited damage to the Pakistan economy as goods which are imported to be used in Afghanistan only are freely available in the Pakistan market without any customs or import duty. Very little is being done to control this despite written agreement on papers.
Therefore it proposed:
Customs procedures and Cross-boarder rules should be published for transparency.
Containers coming back from Afghanistan should be checked by customs.
Streamlining of border crossing procedures on financial guarantee by banks and anti‐corruption measures.
Establish formal Banking channel for effective clearance and settlement system to document trade flows.
The benefit of such initiative would help in reducing cross-border smuggling, increase government revenues from legitimate trade; and the government will receive substantial taxes as the domestic production would increase. “This helps in reducing unemployment,” the council said.

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