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FPCCI demands restoration of normal trade with Afghanistan


KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has demanded the government to restore normal trade with Afghanistan, a statement said on Thursday.

FPCCI president Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo demanded that the government should immediately facilitate the restoration of normal trade practices and trade volumes with Afghanistan; which usually has been $1.5 to $2 billion per year during the past few years.

He was expressing concerns over the loss of precious export earnings and losing it to other regional and international competing countries, while urging that the solution to the issue should also facilitate the Afghan trade through Pakistan to earn the much needed revenues in foreign exchange.

The mandatory condition of trade in dollars is proving to be a major bottleneck in the bilateral trade and it has come to a halt; and, Pakistani exporters are suffering huge financial losses, he said, demanding the government to allow trade on deferred payment, terms as deemed fit by the trading parties.

FPCCI Balochistan vice president Nasir Khan proposed that either the government should allow trade with Afghanistan in Pakistani rupees or allow it on the basis of barter trade, while emphasising the need to have border markets with Afghanistan in the vast contiguous border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The simplified tariffs and levies; and, improvement in border management system through streamlining procedures and policies will enhance the trade between the two neighbouring countries, Khan added.

FPCCI Sindh vice president Adeel Siddiqui maintained that a joint bilateral mechanism should be worked out with Afghanistan for a win-win situation while keeping the employment and production activities steady through the export-oriented industries relying on exports to Afghanistan, adding that this may be achieved through a Special Trade Agreement (STA) with Afghanistan.

FPCCI president added that the body has apprised the minister of finance and revenue, minister of commerce and production and the State bank of Pakistan (SBP) of the incrementally-worsening situation vis-à-vis exports to Afghanistan over the past many months; but, no measures have been taken to protect the trading community of the country.

Business and trade communities on both sides of the border should also be taken onboard as they are the real stakeholders; and, FPCCI is ever-ready to play its due role in the consultative process, Maggo added.

He, however, warned that the business and trade community will be left with no choice than to approach for the legal remedies through the competent court of law, if the issues are not resolved through consultation on priority basis.

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