ISLAMABAD: Chief Collector North Sarwat Tahira Habib’s brief visit regarding the border customs meeting between the Urumqi Customs of China and Pakistan Customs (North Region) was held in Urumqi, China, from 25th to 26th of July 2017.
Both sides reiterated that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement would be made more effective through mutual trade facilitation. The two sides agreed on the need to timely communication of changes in their respective import and export policies. The visit to Urumqi Customs was fruitful and the parleys will yield positive results for the benefit of Pakistani importers, exporters, brokers, and other stakeholders in the bilateral trade between Pakistan and China.
According to details given by Chief Collector North that a delegation of Pakistan Customs, headed by the Chief Collector of Customs (North), visited Custom House, Urumqi, Peoples Republic of China, from 24th to 26th July, 2017. She added that the delegation discussed issues of common interest with Urumqi Customs within the framework of ‘Agreement on Co-operation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters, April 2005’, and the Joint Statement dated May 24th, 2016 between Urumqi Customs of People’s Republic of China and Pakistan Customs (North Region), Federal Board of Revenue.
She said that in the perspective of the China-Pakistan Border Customs meeting in Islamabad in May 2016 the two delegations acknowledged the importance of long-term cooperation and improved trade facilitation in the wake of operation of China-Pakistan Trade Corridor (CPEC). Both sides reiterated that the CPEC Agreement would be made more effective through mutual trade facilitation. The two sides agreed on the need to timely communication of changes in their respective import and export policies.
Chief Collector told CT that the Chinese side emphasized the operation of “Green Corridor” for speedy clearance of agricultural products being perishable goods. Similar arrangements are already in place between Urumqi Customs administration with its counterparts in Tajikistan, Kirghizstan and Kazakhstan. Since the dividends of such an arrangement as a trade facilitation measure are self evident, both sides agreed on the need to establish in future “Green Corridor” for speedy clearance of agricultural goods on both sides. The facility is also expected to help redress issues faced by Pakistani exporters of agricultural produce.
She further told CT that in order to promote cooperation between the two customs administrations, it was agreed to establish a Working Group with the counsel of Urumqi Customs and Chief Collector of Customs (North) envisaged to be effective by the end of August 2017 subject to an approval of the general administration of China Customs (GACC) of China, and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) of Pakistan, respectively.
The Chinese Customs provided a draft implementation plan on Green Corridor and a draft list of agricultural products for the proposed Green Corridor to be studied by Pakistan Customs for providing feedback and communication of its own list of agricultural products for export to China under the Green Corridor arrangement.
Sarwat Tahira Habib said that on the basis of the 2005 agreement on Mutual Assistance between the two Customs administrations, the two sides shared their common view of establishing a mutual cooperation mechanism between their border anti-smuggling organizations within the jurisdiction of Customs. It was agreed to designate two anti-smuggling liaison officers at operational level in the respective border Customs administrations.
She was further said that in pursuant to the Agreement of 2005 and the Joint Statement of 2016, both sides agreed to seek approval from their respective authorities for devising a mechanism of strengthening cooperation between the Urumqi Airport Customs and Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad Customs for information-sharing, intelligence exchange, combating smuggling and other areas of common interest.
During the meeting, Pakistani side stressed the need for establishing and implementing a mutually transmutable Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for effective exchange of data on trade facilitation, valuation, HS classification, verification of certificate of origin and other allied matters. Both sides agreed on establishing the EDI for electronic data exchange. There was also an agreement on reducing delays and eliminating redundancies in Customs procedures on both sides.
Telling the details of visit to China, she said both sides also agreed on exchanging customs personnel to conduct study and research as well as impart knowledge and skills to each other in customs functions. It was also agreed by the two sides that training will be imparted to Pakistani Border Customs officials on recognition of Chinese characters relating to Customs and trade.
In order to strengthen communication and cooperation between border customs ports in the wake of CPEC operation, the suggestion of the Chinese Customs for establishing a regular meeting mechanism to hold meetings between the border Customs stations of Sost (Pakistan) and Khunjarab (China) was agreed by both sides. It was further decided that venue of the next meeting between the Chief Collector of Customs (North), Islamabad and the Director General of Urumqi Customs District will be Islamabad, Pakistan, tentatively in the second quarter of 2018, Chief collector concluded.