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‘No proposal to permit Indian wheat to Afghanistan through land’

‘No proposal to permit Indian wheat to Afghanistan through land’

Commerce Ministry would take decision with permission of concerned stakeholders




ISLAMABAD: The Commerce Ministry has categorically denied having any proposal under consideration for provision of land rights for Indian wheat for export through Pakistani land route.

Transit trade facility for India, for business with Afghanistan, has a strategic dimension to it, rather than being purely a commercial activity and India wants to export over a million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s land route which would be detrimental to our flour milling industry.

“At present, there is no proposal under consideration to allow transit of Indian wheat through land route (Wahga border or elsewhere),” a source privy to Commerce Minister Khuram Dasatgir Khan said. He added that export of Indian wheat in transit to Afghanistan through sea-ports was allowed.

The source said that under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), signed in 2010, exports from India, including wheat, were not allowed in transit to Afghanistan through Wahga border.

“The Commerce Ministry has neither received any request from Indian side to allow Indian exports, including wheat, in transit to Afghanistan through Wahga border nor is there any proposal to allow such transit facility to India under consideration,” the source added.

However, the source said that the ministry being the custodian of interests of business community and would take any decision in this regard with the permission of concerned stakeholders after holding immense deliberations and discussions with concerned stakeholders.

The source added that Pakistani milling industry took exports to Afghanistan as an extension of business for proximity and high profits and subsidized Indian wheat would drive Pakistani milling industry out of the Afghan market and such a situation was not acceptable to MoC at any cost.

The source added that it was not only the general subsidy on farm inputs made the Indian wheat cheaper as compared to Pakistan, but the Indian government had also offered a specific $50 per tonne additional subsidy to exporters, driving the price further down.

“Indian wheat would cost PKR 2,900 per tonne in Afghanistan, against Pakistani commodity at Rs 3,400 per tonne. This difference of Rs 500 per tonne is bound to tilt the competitive edge in favour of the Indian wheat and Pakistan would lose its traditional market that consumes over half a million tonne of flour from Pakistan” the source added.