Smuggling major hurdle in Pak-Afghan trade

LAHORE, Mar 13 (APP):Smuggling is obstructing the legal trade
between Pakistan and Afghanistan, therefore, this issue should be
tackled through rationalizing and removing the tariff barriers.
This was stated by Secretary General of Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber
of Commerce & Industry (PAJCCI) Faiza Zubair while talking to LCCI
Acting President Khawaja Khawar Rashid, Vice President Zeshan Khalil
and Executive Committee Members here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Tuesday. Awais Saeed Piracha, Fahim-ur-Rehamn Saigol
and Lala Pervez were also present on the occasion.
Fauzia Zubair said that smuggling should be eliminated with iron
hands as it was equally destructive for the both countries. She said
that regulatory duty imposed by Afghanistan on Pakistani goods was
400 times more than RD imposed by Pakistan on Afghani products. She
said that mutual trade could not grow in the presence of such duty structure.
She added that there was a need of an Export House for check and balance of the quality specifications of export goods of both countries before full payments to overcome trust deficit. She said that Afghan Businessman loved to work in Lahore. They needed progressive support
of Lahore Chamber for work here. There were some hotel reservation
issues in Lahore, asserting that a comprehensive proposal from the
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry was required about bilateral
trade problems and their solutions in Afghanistan and central Asia.
She viewed, “Economically and socially we can resolve the political
issues of the two countries. That is why we are going to arrange a
grand combine meeting of all Chambers of Pakistan very soon to discuss
the export issue of the countries.”
On this occasion, LCCI Acting President Khawaja Khawar Rashid said
that bilateral relation between Pakistan and Afghanistan were very important for the peace and development in the region. If the relations between the both were not good due to some internal or external reasons,
it directly affectef their bilateral and transit trade.
He said that Pakistan was the best option for exports and imports
for Afghanistan. He mentioned that in 2010-11, the total volume of Transit Trade was $3.8 billion which was exceeded to $3.5 billion in 2015-16.
In 2016-17 with a decline the trade volume remain $2.9 billion. But hopefully it would be $3 billion by the end of fiscal year 2017-18.
He said that Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan were wheat, sucrose, soap, tea, footwear, carpets, paper & paperboard, pharmaceutical goods
etc. Major imports from Afghanistan to Pakistan were carpets, textile
floor covering (knotted), seeds of anise, guts/bladders/stomachs of
animals etc.
He stressed the need to diversify trade patterns for the sake
of bringing some innovation.
LCCI Vice President Zeshan Khalil said that exchanges of businessmen delegations could produce better results in improving the trade links between two countries. He said there was a dire need to develop deeper
ties between the respective Chambers of Commerce & Industry so that
people to people contacts could be built up further. He said that there were issues that needed resolution and the two states were working
together to find solutions to these problems. This included possible defense cooperation and intelligence sharing as well as further enhancing the two-way trade and abolishment of visas for diplomats from the two nations.