Need stressed to widen transit trade area to CARs

Lahore

Experts and economists on Sunday urged the federal government to increase transit trade area to Central Asian Republics (CARs) and ink more agreements with World Customs Organization (WCO) to enhance exports graph in the country.
Senior Vice President, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Amjad Ali Jawa said that during a recent meeting with WCO, LCCI had sought cooperation through welcoming “some degree of necessary support”, so that goods could move more efficiently, across the borders in CARs.
LCCI Member executive committee Shahzad Ayub urged the federal government for measures to ensure technical assistance with regards to Counter Terrorism and Supply Chain security.
He further said that exports rate could further be enhanced through solid measures by the government in trade facilitation, economic competitiveness, coping emerging challenges to customs, illicit financial flows and customs reform and modernization sectors.
Prominent economist Dr. Ashfaq Hassan said that with the efforts of commerce ministry, Pakistan had become a member of TIR convention as United Nations had accepted Pakistan’s Instrument of Accession to the Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods (TIR Convention).
He said this would greatly facilitate Pakistan’s trade with Afghanistan, Central Asian and ECO countries and even Europe.
He said that TIR was still in the implementation stage but there was need to merge it with the Transit Trade Agreement to facilitate the movement of goods.
Dr Aashfaq said that Pakistan was already a signatory of TFA and was working with all its neighbors for regularization of Trade, minimizing Tariffs and removing the Non-Tariff barriers. To a question, Dr Ashfaq said that Pakistan Customs with efforts of the federal government was already a part of several WCO initiatives including its Program Global Shield (PGS) and Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) Programme, under which Pakistani officers/economy experts had received extensive trainings. Appreciating the endeavour of the government, Dr Ashfaq said that WCO had promised to provide its support to Pakistan in regularization of trade. He said the WTO had urged Pakistan government to recuperate ‘Trade Relations’ with all neighbor countries particularly Afghanistan to play a more significant role in the corridor.
Dr Ashfaq said the WCO would provide support to Pakistan in harmonizing Customs data and for fast information sharing to ensure speedy movement of goods across the borders.
He suggested further steps by the government in the areas of the transit trade, tariff duties, harmonizing of customs data and installing a system to evaluate the quantum of smuggling.
A senior official of commerce ministry said the federal government had given Rs 180 billion export incentive to industrial sector during this year to support the declining exports.
He said that the package revolved around cash support and waiver in duty and taxes for five sectors including textile, leather, surgical equipments, sports goods and carpets.
According to the package, approximately 87 percent support would go to the textile and clothing sectors while a mere 13 percent to the remaing four sectors, he added.
He said an investment of Rs 97 billion was being undertaken in the Pakistan Stock Exchange during the fiscal year 2017-18.
The government was aiming to achieve a tax revenue target of Rs 4,330 billion, with Rs 4,013 billion in taxes collected by the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), and Rs317 billion in other taxes, he said.
To support exports sector, the government had suspended the customs duty on the export of raw hides, adding the sales tax on the commercial import of fabric would be set at 6%, he added. —APP

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