Pakistan should fully protect its interests while implementing Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement – Mian Shaukat Masud

  • May 14, 2009
Pakistan should ensure full protection of its business and economic interests while implementing Pak-Afghan transit trade agreement. This was stated by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a statement. He expressed his hope that this transit trade agreement will lead to promotion of healthy relations between Pakistan and India as well because this agreement was supposed to provide access to Indian goods to Afghanistan through Wagha-Khyber transit route. He said business community wanted good relations with all neighborly countries including India and Afghanistan as this will create new opportunities of betterment and prosperity for the economies and people of these countries. However, he cautioned that this agreement should ensure prevention of smuggled goods to Pakistan, particularly transported via Wagha-Khyber transit route so that our domestic industry might not suffer and people might not lose jobs.

Mian Shaukat Masud said Pakistan had already suffered due to Afghan Transit Trade Agreement as the goods brought to Afghanistan under the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement played havoc with the domestic industries. He said that despite the availability of all kinds of goods, even viable industrial units in Pakistan failed to compete with the duty-free goods smuggled back to Pakistan from Afghanistan. Therefore, he stressed upon the government to make sure that this agreement might not unleash more problems for Pakistan due to penetration of smuggled Indian goods in Pakistani markets. He said only those goods should be allowed for transit through Wagha-Khyber route which were essentially needed in Afghanistan.

ICCI President said that our industrialists paid all kinds of taxes on the goods manufactured in the country while our markets were flooded with smuggled goods which badly affected the competitiveness of locally manufactured goods. He said that to avoid the repetition of such problems, the government and the international community should guarantee that the goods transported through Wagha-Khyber route to Afghanistan would not get back in Pakistani markets to save local industry from further destruction. Therefore, he stressed upon the need of taking all necessary measures to protect our national interest while implementing Pak-Afghan Transit Trade agreement so that Pakistan’s economy might not suffer on this account.