PESHAWAR        -          Business community here on Wednesday opposed the proposal to allow Afghanistan to import goods from India via the Wagah-Attari border, saying proposal was against interest of local industries and could create uncompetitive environment for Pakistani products in market.

“The mutual Pak-Afghan transit trade agreement was a bilateral and not a trilateral agreement as per WTO rules, so the proposal is not workable and is unfeasible,” said Shahid Hussain, acting president of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry while addressing at a meeting regarding proposed amendments in the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA), which was held under auspices of Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) here at the Chamber House on Wednesday.

Shahid Hussain said that if the Afghanistan was allowed to import goods from India via Wagah border then Pakistani products would fail to remain competitive in market that will ultimately damage local industries and trigger joblessness. He said the proposal was unacceptable to businessmen and against the interests of local businesses. SCCI chief demanded to allow transportation of loose cargo to give further boost to Pak-Afghan transit trade. While expressing concerns over imposition of Axle Load Regime by government, Shahid Hussain said the business community is being faced with financial losses due to its enforcement and demanded to immediate withdraw the regime and to ensure equal implementation of all relevant laws. He urged the government and State Bank of Pakistan to clear rebate of business community on head security and demurrage and called for bringing easiness in system to save traders and exporters from financial losses.

Businessmen should be allowed to transport transit goods in all modes of transportation, including bonded carriers, Pakistan Railways and NLC, SCCI chief demanded. Shahid Hussain expressed serious concerns over 100 per cent checking of goods cargo instead of 5 per cent by Customs authorities, saying that the business community is being huge financial losses due to load, unload, repacking and demurrage. SCCI chief urged the government to take practical steps to eliminate collection extortion and illegal taxes on different check points on main highways and routes in the country. He termed the high regulatory duties and tariffs as biggest hurdle in way of Pak-Afghan trade, which should be reduced.

SCCI Vice President, Abdul Jalil Jan, PAJCCI Senior Vice president Khalid Shehzad, Director Joint Chamber Naumul Haq, former SVP PAJCCI Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, WCCI president Ms Rukhsana Nadir, PAJCCI Secretary General Ms Faiza, Director Khyber Chamber Syed Jawad Hussain, honorary consul general of Tajikistan, Said Mehmood, Syed Ali Hammad, Syed M Zubair, Tufail Gurwara, Farooq Ahmad, Imtiaz Ahmad Ali, Ammar Ansari and Gul Rehman were present in the meeting.