Pak Cabinet approves transit trade agreement with Afghanistan

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Islamabad, Oct 7 (ANI): Pakistan's federal cabinet has approved the Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement, according to which, while Afghan trucks would be allowed access up to the Wagah border, they could carry only Pakistani export goods back to their country.

Briefing media persons following the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira stated that although Afghan trucks were allowed up to the Torkham border since 1980, under the new agreement they would be allowed access up to Wagha, The News reported.

"In return, Pakistani trucks would be allowed to go through Afghanistan to the Central Asian Republics and Iran," he said.

"The trade between Afghanistan and India is already taking place under the 1965 agreement and since 1980, Afghanistan is exporting through the Wagha border between Pakistan and India," Kaira noted, adding, "The new agreement approved by the cabinet does not allow export of Indian goods to Afghanistan through the Wagha border."

To curtail the menace of smuggling, it has also been mentioned in the agreement that financial guarantees equal to the amount of import levies of Pakistan will have to be deposited by authorised brokers or customs clearing agents to check unauthorised trade, and these deposits will be released after the goods exit the country.

However, in case the goods do not exit the country within the specified time, the customs authorities will confiscate the guarantees.

The agreement was signed between Pakistan Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and his Afghan counterpart, Dr Anwar-ul-Haq Ahady, in the presence of Gilani and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on July 18 this year. (ANI)

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