The federal government of Pakistan is taking measures to ban the import of goods through the Afghan transit trade that are being smuggled into the country, causing harm to its domestic industry and economy.
In a letter addressed to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Maria Qazi, the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, highlighted that numerous meetings had been held within the Ministry of Commerce over the past two weeks.
During these meetings, data from the FBR, recommendations, and a joint presentation by the Ministry of Commerce and FBR at the Prime Minister’s Office were shared with the apex committee of the Strategic Trade Controls (SIFC) on September 8.
Qazi pointed out that during the last fiscal year, the volume of Afghan transit trade passing through Pakistan had surged by 67 percent, reaching $6.71 billion, as compared to $4.016 billion in the fiscal year 2021-22.
The Ministry of Commerce emphasized that the significant rise in smuggling of these goods had not only led to revenue losses but had also rendered the government’s efforts to curtail imports ineffective. This, in turn, has decreased revenues and negatively impacted the domestic industry.
To address this issue, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is preparing a summary proposing a ban on specific items such as clothing, tires, black tea, household appliances, toiletries, cosmetics, and more under the Afghan transit trade.
The Apex Committee has instructed the Secretary of Commerce and Chairman of FBR to suggest mechanisms aimed at preventing the smuggling of these commodities.
Furthermore, the Apex Committee has directed the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to review the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement and report on the progress of new negotiations to the committee.