Islamabad: The Ministry of Commerce on Thursday announced several measures aimed at facilitating the flow of Afghan transit trade through Pakistan in a bid to arrest the trend of diversion to Iran.
As part of the decision, Pakistan allowed Afghan trucks to carry goods up to Wagha border, reduced scanning of Afghan transit cargo to 20 per cent, and clearance of 90pc cargo on the first day of arrival at ports.
An official statement by the ministry said that Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan conveyed these decisions to his Afghan counterpart during his two-day visit to Kabul.
Highlighting details of the decisions to facilitate Afghan Transit Trade, the minister said that Pakistan had reduced the scanning process of Afghan transit cargo from 100pc to 20pc and now only 20pc of the cargo would be subjected to scanning leading to a clearance of 90pc of Afghan consignments from 24 to 48 hours.
Earlier, 100pc of the cargo had to undergo scanning process.
He said that the government has also allowed Afghan trucks to carry goods not only to Wagah Border but to bring Pakistani goods on their way back to Afghanistan.
He also highlighted the efforts to operationalise Pakistan Railways for transit of Afghan cargo. Pakistan Railways is in the process of arranging to carry 400 containers of Afghan transit cargo per week to Torkham and Chaman by July 1, 2015.
He also raised various issues, which are required to be resolved by the Afghan government, with his counterpart.
He urged the finalisation of the draft on Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) currently lying with the Afghan government for approval.
The minister also demanded removal of financial guarantees on Pakistani goods which are being charged at 110pc of the customs duty and tonnage fee at rate of $100 per 25 tonnes on goods which are in transit to Central Asia; avoidance of double taxation agreement; issues of multiple entry visas for Pakistani businessmen and skilled workers; and lifting of ban on transit of LPG via Afghanistan to Pakistan.
The Afghan president promised multiple entry visas for businessmen on reciprocal basis and ensured to address other issues at the earliest, the statement added.