PAJCCI held stakeholders meeting at Chamma Border Crossing, the most active trading border in Baluchistan and famous across the country for the supply of grapes, apricots, plums, peaches, melons, apples and other fruits. The meeting was arranged at Chaman Center and attended by a large number of business community members of both sides, Government officials consisting of Abid Hussain; Director Transit Trade, Col. Asad; NLC, Major Wazeer Umar; Pakistan Army, Regional heads of National Bank & Habib Bank Limited, FIA & PRAL, Department of Plant Protection (Quarantine).
The Afghan delegation was led by Masood Rahat (Khandhar Chamber of Commerce & Industry) & was received by Niaz Muhammad, SVP PAJCCI, and local business leaders from Khandhar & Spin Boldak Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Niaz informed the forum about the continuous efforts of PAJCCI and its Chairman, Zubair Motiwala and Co-Chairman, Khan Jan Alokozai, and remarked this congregation is vital. He appreciated PAJCCI’s initiative of conducting these sessions at far-flung places and voicing the concerns at higher levels of government across the border. Faiza Zubair, Secretary PAJCCI, deliberated on recent resolutions of major issues highlighted at every forum.
Both sides shared the issues and potential economic relationship between the two countries. The problems of E-Form & EIF availability at Chaman is still unresolved, multiple security checks despite scanners being used by several government entities, loading and unloading issues on Afghan side, including transit goods resulting in delays and damage to the products, unannounced border closure by Afghan authorities, lack of custom currency declaration counter at border crossing, pending TAD operationalization, restricted hours at Chaman border crossing for clearance and movement, non-payment or partial payment of customs duties by clearance agents resulting in cargo holding, demurrage & detention charges to Afghan traders, unilateral certificate of origin demands by Pakistan Authorities in case of fresh Afghan fruits, monopoly of TPL, need fo TIR policy and specific parking arrangement, delayed visa processing for Afghan businessmen and payment processing issues by local banks due to lack of custom counter at the border crossing.
Afghan delegation greatly appreciated the invitation and arranging the stakeholder’s meeting, allowing the opportunity to discuss bilateral trade between the neighbors. They informed that Afghan government is very much willing to expand trade ties with Pakistan, formation of joint ventures, regional chambers including CARs & Pakistan, exchange of delegations, joint banking system and joint transport company amongst other measures to boost the bilateral and transit trade.
Participants from both sides agreed that operationalization of TAD will bring relief to transporters and trading community of both sides with assurance of legal trade flourishing & proper tracking of trade support eco-system. The finalization of destuffing and cross stuffing is still under process due to complex nature of requirements however once operational it will greatly reduce the cost of business, safety of cargo till destination, reduction in congestion and delays.
The house jointly agreed that bilateral efforts are required including visa facilitation, 24 hours border operations, removal of items from negative list, unilateral bar on products from being traded by either side shall be curbed for bilateral and transit trade. Joint exploring of Oil & Gas transit from CARs including other products and facilitating transit for each other.
Participants also visited border crossing and observed the operations including movement of cargo, clearance and checks.
Delegates appreciated the efforts of PAJCCI in resolving the issues by involving stakeholders at multiple levels. PAJCCI will compile all security and operational issues being faced at Chaman Border crossing and will share it with Brigadier Kashif & Colonel Qamar for their support and resolution. The report will also be shared with Chairman AICC, Mohammad Sadiq, Special Adviser to Prime Minister.