KARACHI: PAJCCI’s role as an enabler to business communities of both the countries to overcome the ground problems to enhance the bilateral and transit trade was greatly lauded at 4th APTTCA meeting held in Kabul: Muhammad Zubair Motiwala
The fourth joint session of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Co-ordination Authority (APTTCA) was held in Kabul from October 8-9, 2013 in a bid to explore ways to solve transit grievances. The Pakistan side was led by Secretary Commerce Mr. Qasim M. Niaz while the Afghan side was represented by Deputy Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industries Mr. Mozammil Shinwari. The role of PAJCCI was greatly lauded by both the sides for the active participation in facilitating transit trade and bilateral trade.
Mr. Motiwala has elaborated that Afghanistan side has agreed to facilitate the process of allowing multiple entry visa to Pakistani businessmen, especially members of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI). It is to be noted that Pakistan side is already issuing six months multiple entry visa to Afghan businessmen and it was requested that the same should be done on reciprocity basis especially to PAJCCI members and also to exempt them from personal appearance for visa application. The Afghan delegation informed that an order in this regard has been issued by the President and it will be implemented as soon as possible.
In order to resolve issues of 5% physical examination and partial shipments, Pakistan Customs has proposed to implement the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) connectivity and its utilization for release of financial guarantee. The pilot project will be executed at Torkham, initially, from November 1, 2013. Pakistan Customs also intend to launch automated clearance system (WeBOC) for Afghan Transit Trade under APTTA 2010 according to which an external user interface will be provided to Afghan importers based on Jawaznama and Tax Identification No (TIN). For this, all Afghan importers shall also be members of Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This initiative will facilitate in developing a database of Afghan importers for Risk Management Criteria for 5 percent examination selectivity as agreed under APTTA. PAJCCI in coordination with Pakistan Customs will hold orientation sessions for Afghan Importers for effectiveness and coordination.
Pakistani side requested that the provision of auction may be extended to about 200 loose consignments lying since 1971-2010 at Karachi Port and Peshawar Railway. The customs has agreed to provide complete details to PAJCCI so that Afghan importers may be informed for claims and refunds prior to auction of consignments (if not cleared within 90 days).
Pakistan side informed that in pursuance to a previous meeting in September 6-7, 2011, both sides agreed to waive the condition of financial security for export of Afghan Cargo transiting through territory of Pakistan and export of Pakistan (to CIS countries) through territory of Afghanistan. Pakistan has implemented the said waiver w.e.f. 14th September, 2011, while Afghan side is still charging 110 percent of the value amount from Pakistani exporters. Additionally requirement of transit permit and payment US $100 per consignment each from Pakistan by Ministry of Afghanistan is effecting the transit business of Pakistan. Afghan side replied that Afghan Customs have launched a new transit system at Torkham and now they are securing the leviable duty/taxes amount through Freight Forwarders which is credited automatically to their account after arrival/cross-border of cargo at Sher Khan Bandar/Harithan. Afghan Customs also informed that the said system will be implemented at Chaman/Weish after Eid-ul-Azha holidays. They further elaborated that transit permit requirement would also be taken care off through the introduction of new transit system at Torkham. It was informed that production of the copy of agreement between Pakistani exporters/importers and third countries importers/exporters have also been abolished.
Afghan traders indicated that there are no shipping containers available in Afghanistan that can go directly from Afghanistan to overseas destination points. This requires that transit goods be transferred to Pakistan by trucks in loose form and then stuffed into appropriate containers within Pakistan. Pakistani side assured that that if goods come in containers then they will be further transported in containers and if in bulk will be carried away in bulk as agreed already and Afghan exports will be allowed to be containerized for further export.
In the meeting, it was also decided to hold Customs Working Group Committee Meeting between the two countries in mid November 2013 so that issues pertaining to bonded carriers, open pool facility for commercial consignments, insurance guarantees, cross-border certificates, tracking devices, formation of border liaison committees (including PAJCCI directors) must be dealt with. It was also agreed by customs of both the sides that all related amendments, SROs and minutes will be shared with PAJCCI for proper coordination and follow-up and prompt communication with stakeholders.
On behalf of Mr. Khan Jan Alkozai – President and Mr. Muhammad Zubair Motiwala – Co-President, PAJCCI was represented by Mr. Yonass Momand and Engr. Daroo Khan – Vice Presidents along with Ms Faiza, Secretary General, Mr. Daood Moosa and Mr. Ahmad Shah – Directors.