Karachi: Co-President Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) Zubair Motiwala during a meeting with representatives from US Consulate, Richard Bakewell, Senior Economic Officer and Peter Fricke – Economic Officer at the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan deliberated on the concerns raised by PAJCCI at the 9th JEC meeting held in Kabul last week under leadership of Finance Ministers of both the countries.
The meeting was also attended by President KCCI – Abdullah Zaki, Directors PAJCCI Junaid Makda and A.Q. Khalil and Secretary General Faiza Nasir.
Motiwalla elaborated on the dire need of tariff rationalization and fiscal reforms to counter parallel trade between the two countries. He reinforced the importance of establishing Export Houses across the border to facilitate bilateral trade and reiterated the requirement of providing one-year multiple visa to Pakistani traders and businessmen on reciprocal basis.
He briefed them about the discussions pertaining to extension of APTTA to Tajikistan, withdrawal of double taxation agreement, reservation of afghan stakeholders’ on several implementation issues under APTTA which are hampering both transit and bilateral trade, dollarization of Pak-Afghan trade in upcoming quarter, apprehensions and uncertainty associated with the exit of American troops from Afghanistan.
He also highlighted concerns of Afghan counterparts on extension of APTTA to Tajikistan, whereby they reinforced that current implementation issues pertaining to APTTA on bilateral level must be rectified and APTTA must be revisited before any such trilateral engagements are proceeded with.
Motiwala informed that PAJCCI has been contacted by several chambers for collaboration and other international embassies to have tri-partite arrangements keeping in view its progress in two years of its inception in nourishing the regional trade connectivity.
Abdullah Zaki, also provided insight related to suffering of Pakistani businesses due to parallel trade regime generated due to Afghan transit trade. He reinforced that tariff rationalization and appropriate check and balances at the border and port are critically important.
Junaid Makda delved on his discussions with USAID representative in an investment conference held in Dubai regarding improvement in both transit and bilateral trade between the two countries.
Makda also reiterated on the importance of support from USAID towards PAJCCI’s initiatives in order to strengthen documented economy and to remove trade hurdles.
Secretary General Faiza Nasir informed about initiatives taken by PAJCCI in past and upcoming collaboration with USAID for CABOC conference to be held in April 2014 in Islamabad.
Motiwala highlighted increasing role of PAJCCI in successful arbitration and advocacy across the border and incorporated the vision of PAJCCI’s leadership to ensure long-run sustainability of its initiatives.