ATT causing over US$2-Billion annual loss to Pakistan – ICCI

  • October 20, 2009
The smuggling of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) goods into Pakistan was causing a direct revenue loss of over two billion dollars annually to Pakistan apart from stunting growth of local industry and government should take all possible measures to stop the misuse of ATT.

This was said by Zahid Maqbool, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry in a Statement. He said Afghanistan was a land-locked country and to facilitate it in imports from other countries, Pakistan in 1965 and ECO Countries in 1997 provided ATT facility to Afghanistan but deplored that this facility was being massively abused by unscrupulous elements to import products as most of these products were surreptitiously driven back into Pakistan. The reason was that the nature & type of goods imported by ATT was mostly linked to their demand in Pakistan rather than their demand in Afghanistan.

He said the Afghans prefer to drink green tea instead of black tea, yet large quantities of black tea were imported, under ATT, for eventual smuggling into Pakistan. He said when in the wake of power outages there developed a tremendous demand for power generators, uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems, rechargeable torches/lights, etc. in Pakistan, ATT traders flooded Pakistani markets with these items directly affecting the business of manufacturers of these items in Pakistan.

Zahid Maqbool said today, some 75 per cent of the demand for about 1.5 million bus/truck tyres in Pakistan was met by ATT. Resultantly, manufacturing of tyres within the country and also their legal import was on the decline inflicting a loss of billions of rupees in revenues to Pakistan.

He said according to a study, in 1994 Pakistan imported air conditions worth Rs.30-million but Afghanistan, which was at that time mostly bereft of electricity, imported through ATT air conditioners worth one billion rupees most of which ended up in Pakistan..

He said the story did not end here. Many other items like tinned foodstuff, spices, beverages, tubes, cloths, auto parts, electric & electronic goods and home appliances were also finding easy way into Pakistan from Afghanistan. This showed the magnitude of the damage which was being caused to Pakistani industry by ATT.

He called upon the government to take immediate measures to stop the abusive use of ATT; otherwise, industry in Pakistan would close down creating more unemployment and poverty in the country.