Implementation of Afghan Transit Trade Agreement should not hurt the domestic industry – Shaban Khalid

  • May 27, 2009
Before implementing the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA), Government of Pakistan should establish proper monitoring mechanism to control the smuggling of goods back to Pakistan brought to Afghanistan under ATTA. This was demanded by Shaban Khalid, Acting President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a statement. He said that local trade and industry despite paying hefty taxes & duties and making available goods to the domestic market cannot compete with the goods smuggled back to Pakistan from Afghanistan. Therefore, he stressed for the need of taking extraordinary monitoring measures to avoid damage to the domestic industry. He also called upon the international community to guarantee that the goods brought under ATTA would not penetrate Pakistani markets.

Shaban Khalid emphasized that trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan should be on equality basis and the Afghan government should provide the same facilities, which were being provided by the Pakistani government. He demanded that as a reciprocal gesture, Pakistani goods should be provided easy and secure access to Central Asian States through Afghanistan.

He said that under ATTA, all Indian goods for Afghanistan should be sent utilizing Pakistani transport because if India used its own transport, then Pakistan transportation sector would be affected. He said government should have taken the business community into confidence before signing the MoU on ATTA to minimize its damaging effects.

Shaban Khalid said that negative list of items should be prepared in consultation with business community and a limited quantity of items should be worked out taking businessmen on board for transit to Afghanistan, which are genuinely needed there. He further said that government should conduct needs analysis of goods required in Afghanistan in collaboration with Afghan authorities and only restricted quantities of the positive list should be allowed. Moreover, this data should be shared with Pakistani business community so that they could enhance their capacities to manufacture these goods for supply to Afghanistan. This arrangement will give further boost to our domestic industry.