ISLAMABAD Businessmen on Monday showed serious concerns over the finalisation of new Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and said it was a compromise on the countrys trade and economic interests. President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), Zahid Maqbool, said that Government had given a free hand to Afghan transport units in Pakistan under new APTTA by allowing them to carry goods to India through Wagah border. He said it would badly affect the business of local transporters who were attached with Afghan Transit Trade and would also create new security problems for the country. It was better for the Government to take private sector and transporters on board before finalising the new APTTA with Afghanistan, he added. He said letters of credit under Afghan Transit Trade should be opened in Afghanistan instead of Pakistan. He feared that the new APTTA would unleash new wave of smuggling in the country and stressed that that all necessary steps must be taken to prevent it. He said that ATTA had already been a major source of smuggling into Pakistan, causing huge revenue losses to the economy and adversely impacting local businesses. According to some estimates, ATTA accounts for 75 percent of an estimated $5 billion worth of smuggled goods entering Pakistan annually, he said. Many of the items imported under ATTA, are not even meant for the Afghan market. He emphasised that APTTA should plug such loopholes completely. Zahid said that Pakistan should try to convince Afghanistan to accept quantitative restrictions in keeping with its actual needs or allowing Pakistan to collect customs duty on Afghanistans behalf at the Karachi Port so that importing goods through transit trade for smuggling could lose its charm. However, he appreciated allowing Pakistan to export its goods to Central Asia through Afghanistan under APTTA. But he stressed if Afghan containers and trucks could be allowed to carry goods up to Lahore, then Pakistani containers and trucks should also be allowed on reciprocal basis to carry Pakistans goods through Afghanistan to Central Asia and for this purpose road links should be established with Central Asia. Israr Ahmed from Meanwhile, President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Kashif Shabbir, said that Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) was not in favour of Pakistan and it would badly affect the local industry. The agreement was made in an indecent haste and business community was not taken on board, he added. Though Pakistani government is denying the involvement of any third country in APTTA, there were clear reports that India will be fully allowed to use Pak water for export, he said while talking to media persons on Monday. Kashif said that this agreement had created a wave of panic among the business community as the Government took this decision with taking them into confidence. He said that Government had refused the element of involvement of any third country but there were authentic reports that India was fully allowed to use sea corridor for exports. If it is true, the Indian products would be dumped in the Pakistani markets as the Government has no proper arrangements to curb the smuggling, he added. He stressed that there was no need of hurry to sign the agreement. He said that local industry was under serious threat and RCCI would soon arrange a meeting of All Pakistan Chambers to discuss the said pact. He was of the view that the only positive thing in the agreement was that the Pakistan could get access to the markets of Central Asian States. But the involvement of India would harm the Pakistani interest in this regard, he said.