KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan has agreed to rearticulate Directorate General of Transit Trade (Customs) as an empowered separate entity for regulating of complete transit trade operation and enforcement.

The complete transit trade operations, which include cargo transportation, enroute monitoring & enforcement and border terminal operations, will be handled by a single organization to ensure transparency and effective oversight.

Prime Minister recently chaired the meeting on Transit Trade through Pakistan. The Secretary Commerce presented overall picture of Transit Trade, including high cost of transit through Pakistan, impact of transit trade on Pakistan, regional scenario and issues in flow of transit trade.

Director General Sarfaraz Warraich gave a detailed presentation to the Prime Minister Imran Khan, who agreed to implement the proposals.

Moreover, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Ministry of commerce (MoC) would expedite exploring opportunities of outreaching to Central Asian Republics to promote regional trade; while Electronic Data Interface will be established with Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai on expeditious basis.

The meeting advised Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to present a detailed plan for reducing impediments and cost of transit trade, which is higher in the region, while Ministry of Maritime Affairs was advised to present detailed plan for improving port functioning and reducing cost of trade.

on the recommendations of Director General Sarafaraz Warraich, the meeting decided to enforce filing of Goods Declaration through Master Bill of Lading instead of House Bill, which would eliminate mis-declaration, under-invoicing and smuggling.

It may be mentioned here that 100 percent scanning of transit cargo at both entry and exit points has already been ordered. The scanned images at both the points are being cross matched to ensure there has been no pilferage or cargo replacement during the transit.

The meeting also advised Pakistan Railways to plan gradual shifting of transit and transshipment cargo on railways. It may be mentioned here that Railways has already planned induction of 120 freight wagons each year for transportation of containerized cargo. The meeting also explored options for JV with private entities for multimodal transportation and laying of rail track up to Torkhum and Chaman crossing points for transportation of cargo to Afghanistan.

Sarfaraz Warraich also proposed development of Transit Trade Facilitation Portal for introducing transparency and reducing impediments, which was ordered by the PM.

The meeting also decided that intelligence based operations would be undertaken in markets and warehouses on selected smuggled items with a view to backtrack the smuggling chain.

The meeting discussed revision of Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) to be carried out while keeping all stakeholders on board and remaining cognizant of future requirements.

Draft APTTA proposed by Afghanistan has already been shared with all stakeholders for necessary input upon formal receipt.


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