Afghanistan delaying revision in trade pact with Pakistan, NA body told

'The Afghan side has not been forthcoming in holding the APTTCA meeting, which was last held in Feb 2016'

ISLAMABAD: While Pakistan and Afghanistan have shared with each other proposals to revise the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) 2010 to resolve issues related to transit trade, Kabul is delaying the holding of APTTA meeting for the past four years.

During a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Commerce, the commerce ministry officials said that despite repeated requests, the Afghan side has not been forthcoming in holding the APTTCA meeting, which was last held in February 2016.

However, they said, both countries have almost finalised proposals to revise APTTA 2010, which will expire in February 2021. Kabul had shared its proposals in this regard in June this year.

The commerce ministry officials briefed the committee on the history of Pak-Afghan trade and revision of APTTA 2010. The committee, headed by MNA Naveed Qamar, discussed the challenges and issues in transit trade with Afghanistan, lessons learnt from past agreements, proposals of both the countries and a way forward.

The committee was informed that APTTA has not been implemented in letter and spirit, which was why the cost of business had skyrocketed for traders.

Afghanistan wanted access to India through the Wagah border, while Pakistan has refused to grant access in this regard, the officials stated.

It was informed that Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) is obligatory transport of cargo from/to Pakistan ports to Afghanistan under Article V of GATT 1947, Convention on Transit Trade of landlocked 1965, and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982.

The agreement was concluded keeping in view best international practices and advances made in the fields of information technology, logistics and customs procedures.

The committee was informed that as opposed to the previous agreement of 1965, the APTTA is based on complete reciprocity, access to Pakistani exports to CARs region through Afghanistan and formal arrangement in form of Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) to ensure effective implementation.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh, Ali Khan Jadoon, Khurram Shehzad, Wajiha Akram, Sajida Begum, Farukh Khan, Usman Ibrahim, Rana Iradat Shareef Khan, Rasheed Ahmed Khan and Syed Javed Shah Jilani.

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]
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