ISLAMABAD: Import of fruits and several other edible items has been temporarily halted from Afghanistan due to imposition of 50% regulatory  duty to curtail rising trade deficit of the country, it was learnt on Thursday.

The federal government has doubled the rate of regulatory duty on import of fresh and dry fruits and dairy products and a sufficient quantity of fruit is being imported from Afghanistan.

Source revealed, the regulatory duty on imported items will push-up smuggling in the country and the government must focus on increasing exports by facilitating local industry to overcome the trade deficit. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should withdraw withholding tax on banking transactions and discretionary powers extended to the tax officials under Sales Tax Act 38-B and 40-B that are creating panic among the business community.

Pakistan’s trade with Afghanistan has also been affected due to our border security situation now a days.

Major imports from Afghanistan are fresh fruits and vegetables. Traditionally, the orchards of fruits in Afghanistan are bought many months in advance by the Pakistani importers, most of whom operate on a seasonal basis.