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SALAM WANTADAR

Pakistan allows export of 14 items to Afghanistan in rupees

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MONITORING (SW) – Pakistan has allowed export of another 14 items to Afghanistan in rupees via land routes owing to the non-availability of tradable currency through banking channels.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, in the wake of a drastic decline in exports to Afghanistan.

According to the Dawn news, the decision will also help the Taliban-led regime continue import of essential food items from Pakistan until the West recognised their government. The ECC said the decision was taken in view of the food crisis and prevailing situation in Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban takeover of Kabul, Pakistan has taken several measures, including a drastic reduction in duty on imports of vegetables and fruits from Afghanistan. In this connection, the ECC also exempted 45 per cent duty on import of chilghoza from Afghanistan.

The items allowed by the ECC for exports in local currency to Afghanistan are rice, fish and fish products, poultry, meat and products, sugar confectionery and bakery products, fruit, nuts and other edible parts of plants, oilcake and other solid residues, vegetable materials and vegetable waste, salt, cement, pharmaceuticals, matches, textile and textile articles, building stone and surgical instruments.

Currently, exports of fruits and vegetables, dairy products and meat are allowed in Pakistan currency.

Exports from Pakistan to Afghanistan have declined from $517.24 million in the first half year of FY21 to $328.25m during July-December of FY22.

In 2002, the then government of president Pervez Musharraf had decided to facilitate exporters and get more market for Pakistani products in Afghanistan. As a result, SRO-31 of 2002 was issued to allow exports against Pakistani rupee. Exports to Afghanistan stood at $386.67m in 2002-03.

As a result of that decision, Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan rose to $2.5bn in 2014-15. Statistic of exports proceeds suggest that Afghanistan has emerged as the second-largest export destination for Pakistan after the United States. However, this facility was later discontinued on pressure from external and internal sides.

On Friday, the ECC allowed removal of 45pc regulatory duty on the import of chilghoza from Afghanistan to encourage legal import of unprocessed chilghoza for its processing in the country for export. The decision will also be instrumental in creation of jobs in the far-flung areas of border regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and economically backward areas of Balochistan.

ENDS

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