Pak-Afghan traders hails extension in ATTA for next three months

PESHAWAR: Pakistan and Afghanistan traders hailed extension in Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA) for the next three months and said that Islamabad and Kabul to reconstitute a new ATTA agreement in proper consultation with the business community o n both sides of the border and relevant stakeholders without any delay.

A meeting was held between traders delegation from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, led by Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) former senior vice president and renowned exporter, Shahid Hussain and Chairman, Pak-Afghan Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) Afghanistan Chapter and Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) Afghanistan vice chairman Haji Khanjan Alkozai in Kabul, according to a press release issued here on Friday.

They called for the number of scanners at Torkham border and other trade routes to be increased at optimal level, besides to simplify rules and regulations for carrying out smooth bilateral trade and transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Pak-Afghan traders termed promotion of bilateral trade and transit trade is beneficial and in the best interest of the both neighbouring countries, which would bring economic, social prosperity and development in the region.

A member of the Afghan parliament from Kunduz, Engineer Kamal Safi, a leading industrialist and leader, Abdul Jabbar Safi, Pak-Afghan exporters and importers were also present in the meeting.

Traders on both sides of the border sought easiness in Afghan transit trade and clearance system at Karachi sea port.

They emphasized on allowing maximum movement of Afghan transit trade vehicles through Ghulam Khan border to give a boost to Pak-Afghan trade.

Despite the reservations of Pak-Afghan business community on the previous agreement of ATTA, signed early in 2011, the participants said the transit trade pact was implemented, after which it was witnessing a significant drop in trade volume between two countries instead of any improvement.

The traders urged that the new ATTA agreement should be signed in proper consultation with the business community and relevant stakeholders for carrying out smooth trade between the neighbouring two countries.

The speakers hailed the government of Pakistan for bringing reduction in custom duties on more than 51 exporting items to Afghanistan. However, they called upon the Afghan government to reduce duties and taxes on 16 Afghan items on a reciprocal basis.

Economy would be improved by carrying out smooth trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan that will also help to generate employment opportunities, the participants said.