Implementation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) is on hold indefinitely.According to an official at the Ministry of Commerce (Pakistan), the hold up is because of a disagreement between the two sides about how to guarantee goods imported by Afghani importers while they are in transit in Pakistan on their way to Afghanistan.
Under the agreement Afghani importers (or their agents) are required to provide financial guarantees covering duties owed against imported goods bound for Afghanistan. These are the duties that would be charged if those goods had been imported by Pakistani importers. They would, however, not be charged if the goods successfully made it into Afghanistan.
This requirement is aimed at discouraging smuggling. According to the commerce ministry official, Pakistan loses millions of dollars in import duties on Afghani imports that end up on the Pakistani market, anyway. The Afghani importers would like to offer financial guarantees drawn on Afghani banks.
The official quoted, Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood, continues to talk sense about tracking systems and reducing import duties as a way of reducing the incentive to smuggle goods into the country. It is refreshing to hear an official of the administration talk sense.
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