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Customs rules required to be adapted to enhance Pak-Afghan trade: Sarhadi

Customs rules required to be adapted to enhance Pak-Afghan trade: Sarhadi

PESHAWAR: The customs rules need to be revised in order to boost the mutual trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan which has fallen into a new low after the increase in uncertainty between both countries.

Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the two countries not to mix trade and political issues as it has damaged the mutual trade badly.

Talking to Customs Today on Friday, Director Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ziaul Haq Sarhadi said the trade between the two countries is at the lowest ebb due to political hostilities. He said the mutual trade has dropped from 2.6billion to just $1.6billion annually which is a matter of grave concern for the business community of the neighboring countries.

Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, who is also President of Frontier Customs Agents Group Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said the trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan can be enhanced by $7.5billion annually if the two governments remove hurdles in the trade at different levels.

He demanded a review of the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement saying the agreement has become obsolete and needs rectification.

Mutual trade has recorded an increase of 65 percent and the trade volume has crossed the figure of $2.5billion in 2014-15 but factors like hostility between Pakistan and Afghanistan, unfavorable conditions and shifting of a huge portion of this trade to Chabahar Port in Iran are the major factors behind the decline of trade between the two states, he added.

Sarhadi further said the trade volume is further shrinking day by the day adding India has established a second areal corridor with Afghanistan which imported 1,550 ton of fresh and dry fruits, handmade carpets and herbs to India. He said the first aerial corridor was established in June 2017 during which 52 flights operated.

Sarhadi said the mutual trade between India and Afghanistan reached $600million adding it would be enhanced to one billion dollars this year which is alarming for Pakistan.

He called for steps like relaxing of customs rules, facilitating of transportation of goods and modifying the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement to enhance trade between the two countries.