Pakistan has significantly strengthened its import regulations for goods destined for Afghanistan, citing concerns over the misuse of the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA). Islamabad has banned importing items prone to smuggling to Afghanistan via its territory as part of the new measures.
The revised import framework comes against the backdrop of enduring suspicions that certain commodities meant for Afghanistan, under the ATTA, are illicitly diverted back to the Pakistani market, costing the national treasury significant revenues.
Key Measures and Their Implications
Pakistan has taken stringent actions, including an outright ban on specific items and the imposition of additional processing fees on other goods imported by Afghanistan. Afghanistan via Pakistan has levied a 10% processing fee on imports like chocolates, footwear, machinery, blankets, and garments.
Furthermore, for enhanced accountability, Afghan importers are now mandated to provide bank guarantees equivalent to duties and taxes to ensure that consignments reach their intended destination in Afghanistan. This move is a proactive measure to guarantee that imports under the ATTA genuinely cater to Afghanistan’s needs rather than being siphoned off for smuggling. However, the on-ground realization of these steps remains contingent on efficient enforcement and monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the spirit of these regulations is upheld.