ISLAMABAD-A parliamentary committee was informed on Monday that, Ministry of Commerce is addressing issues related to Pak-Afghan trade, like permits, delays in clearance of goods, difficulty in registration of goods documents, insufficient space for clearance and handling of goods. 

The meeting of the Standing Committee on Commerce, under the Chairmanship of Syed Naveed Qamar, was held in the Parliament House, Islamabad. 

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 and storing goods. The major reasons for high port charges in Pakistan are attributed to non-competitive environment, non-utilisation of Gwadar port and lack of regulatory mechanism to regulate terminal operators and shipping lines. The Ministry informed that, lack of hominisation of customs documents is another issue which hinder the timely completion of transit formalities.

The Chair directed the Ministry of Commerce to add proposals of the Members of the Committee in the exchange document. Chairman of the Committee Syed Naveed Qamar emphasized Ministry of Commerce that, next agreement must be comprehensive and Pakistani exporters needed to be facilitated on priority. The Committee showed its displeasure on absence of FBR Chairman in all the three meetings on APTTA. 

The meeting was attended by MNAs, Mr. Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh, Mr. Muhammad Aslam Bhootani, Mian Muhammad Shafiq, Mr. Usman Ibrahim and Ms. Tahira Aurangzeb.  The meeting was also attended by the Advisor to the Prime Minister for Commerce, Secretary Commerce and other representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and FBR.