The Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Industry, Abdul Razak Dawood on Monday reaffirmed its commitment to enhance trade and bilateral economic relation with Afghanistan for increasing regional integration.

While briefing 17th meeting of the Standing Committee on Commerce, under the Chairmanship of Syed Naveed Qamar, in the Parliament House on Monday, he said that the government prioritized enhancing regional trade and connectivity for connecting the whole region through improvement in Pakistan and Afghanistan transit trade, the adviser said.

Dawood said that the government wants to resolve all trade issues with Afghanistan to formalize the bilateral trade between both of the countries.

The Ministry of Commerce briefed the Committee on Afghan Pakistan Trade and revision of Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) 2010.

The Committee further discussed the institutional arrangements, challenges and issues in transit trade with Afghanistan.

The Committee was informed that Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) was established to monitor the effective implementation of the agreement.

The Ministry further added that one of the discouraging factors in Afghanistan Pakistan transit Trade is high terminal charges at Pakistani ports in terms of handling, storage charges are free days allow.

The major reasons for high port charges in Pakistan are attributed to non-competitive environment, non-utilization of Gwadar port and lack of regulatory mechanism to regulate terminal operators and shipping lines.

The ministry is addressing issues like permits, delays in clearance of goods, difficulty in registration of goods documents, insufficient space for clearance and handling of goods, its delays and other related issues.

The Chair directed the Ministry of Commerce to add proposals of Honorable Members of the Committee in the exchange document.

The Chairman of the Committee Syed Naveed Qamar, emphasized on the Ministry of Commerce that next agreement must be comprehensive and Pakistani exporters needed to be facilitated on priority.

The Committee showed its displeasure in absence of Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in all the three meetings on APTTA.