PAJCCI opposes removal of Section 25-A from Custom Act

PESHAWAR: Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, Vice President Pak-Afghan Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), and president Frontier Customs Agents Association (FCAA) termed that amendment in section 25-A of the Customs Act as an unfair decision, calling for withdrawing of the decision to facilitate across border mutual trade.

Ziaul Haq Sarhadi in a statement issued here on Tuesday said the decision has restored powers of Director General Karachi to valuation/determining prices of fresh fruits and dry-fruits, imported via the Torkham border from Afghanistan.

He urged the government to review its decision in the best interest of the Pak-Afghan mutual trade and transit trade and business community on both sides of the border.

PAJCCI VP said the valuation of dry and fresh fruits from the EU and U.S are higher because of their high standards and quality while fresh and dry fruits from Afghanistan are natural and low-grade products bearing low value, the meeting said.

Thus, qualities from the EU and U.S and Afghanistan differ greatly and therefore, have different values, he added. Ziaul Haq Sarhadi expressed fear that the determination of the same valuation to both fruits imported from the EU and the U.S and Afghanistan will prove disastrous for Pak-Afghan bilateral and transit trade.

The resultant increased valuation by Pakistan for imported fruit from Afghanistan increases the valuation of imports from Pakistan, rendering Pakistani products uncompetitive in Afghan Market, which will never be suited to them and against the Pak-Afghan mutual and transit trade, the PAJCCI VP said.

Mr Sarhadi, who is also president of FCAA said that Section 25-A was inserted in the last budget for facilitation of trade from Afghanistan wherein collectors were empowered to determine the value of imported goods from land border stations after consultation process including relevant chambers of commerce and trade bodies.

However, he mentioned that the Customs Act has again been amended by deleting Section 25-A, which has become cause of severe difficulties for the Afghan agri/exporters and Pakistani importers as well. He argued that trade at borders is totally different from trade at seaports coming from developed countries that have high-quality Agri products.

On the occasion, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi called for proper consultation with the business community and relevant stakeholders before the finalization of the new Afghan Transit Trade Agreement. TF REPORT

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