PAJCCI completes deliberation on barter mechanism across border

PESHAWAR (APP): Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJJCCI) as a lead chamber to develop barter trade mechanism recommendations for the governments of Pakistan & Afghanistan has announced that it has completed deliberations by engaging stakeholders on both sides of the border.
PAJCCI has conducted several meetings and reviews to finalize the recommendations and to arrive at suggested joint framework, it is holding Focus Group Discussion in Islamabad from June 8th-10th 2022, says a press release issued here on Saturday.
The Afghan delegation will also visit under the leadership of Khan Jan Alokozai; Co-Chairman PAJCCI for participation in Focus Group Discussion.
The 9th Focus Group Discussion forum will also deliberate on current issues and opportunities entailing bilateral, transit and barter trade with Afghanistan and CARs.
Zubair Motiwala, Chairman PAJCCI appreciated the role of all stakeholders and especially business community to have extended full support in preparation of framework, workable solutions and highlighting the risks and obstacles in way of bilateral and barter trade.
He hopes that upcoming FGD will fine tune all recommendations and will shape the final draft for both governments to be presented at the ministerial level.
He lauded the efforts of PAJCCI team which in short time has carried out numerous meetings, prepared documents, researched the best practices, coordinated with various government entities and brought everyone together to work on this special project in limited time.
He urged Government of Pakistan to extend the waiver on E-Form & EIF till 31st December 2022 as it is about to expire at the end of June whereas barter mechanism is still passing through deliberation stage.
Additionally issues like settlement of Sales tax refund and duty draw back claims, adding separate module for barter trade in PSW etc needs resolution prior to operationalization of this mechanism. He said that finalization of barter trade will take more time due to unique nature of trade with Afghanistan and removal of trade obstacles is imperative hence these measures shall be taken up promptly.
Motiwala added that despite several requests the SRO to process sales tax refund and duty draw back claims in case of land route and PKR trade is awaited and creating distress to business community.
The trade is declining with Afghanistan due to such administrative issues while traders are patiently facing infrastructure problems at border crossings, limited operational borders, high cost of fuel, unannounced route closures, forfeiture of containers filled with goods by security institutions, increasing labor and transport costs, causing trust deficit with government.
He reiterated to increase PKR trading category items and identify solution to process third party payments without further delay. Business community is making all efforts to bring in revenue but the treatment meted to them is discouraging and if it continues, will result in low or no trade with Afghanistan.
It is important to understand the trade with Afghanistan is the best viable option for both countries as most cost effective and efficient trading partners.
Both trade in diverse seasonal and non-seasonal goods with high consumption on either side. Having nearest and easy access means to bring in goods at low cost and in fresh condition especially food items, whereby providing employment in border areas which is complimentary to secure borders.
PAJCCI recommends that government of Pakistan take immediate notice of obstacles and directs relevant entities to resolve them swiftly else Pakistan stands to lose high revenue trade partnership.