Pakistan: Amendment in Customs Act; local businessmen opposes

PESHAWAR: Pakistan government has done some amendments on Customs Act which is being opposed by local businessmen. According to the businessmen, is the changes applied, their trade with Afghanistan will be affected badly.

They demanded the immediate withdrawal of the changes.

The matter was discussed during a meeting chaired by Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Hasnain Khurshid Ahmad at the Chamber House here on Friday, according to a statement.

The participants included SCCI senior vice-president Imran Khan Mohmand, vice- president Javed Akhtar, former senior vice-president Engineer Manzoor Elahi, Pak-Afghan Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry vice-president Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, importers and exporters.

Fear Pak-Afghan trade will be badly affected

They were informed that a large number of traders were associated with the import and export of fresh and dry fruits from Afghanistan and their valuation was done by a committee formed by the customs authorities in Peshawar and Quetta.

The valuation carried out by the Karachi customs DG was withdrawn after the inclusion of Section 25-A in the Customs Act in the last fiscal.

The meeting was told that the valuation of dry and fresh fruits imported from the European Union and US was higher due to their high quality, while the fresh and dry fruits imported from Afghanistan were natural and of low grade and therefore, their value was low. The quality of the EU-US and Afghan goods differ greatly and therefore, they have different values.

The participants feared that determination of the same valuation for both fruits imported from EU-US and Afghanistan would prove disastrous for Pak-Afghan mutual and transit trade.

They said the valuation increased by Pakistan for Afghan fruits increased valuation of imports from Pakistan rendering Pakistani products noncompetitivein the Afghan market, which won’t suit them.

The meeting was informed that Section 25-A was inserted to the Customs Act to facilitate trade from Afghanistan, while collectors were empowered to determine the value of imported goods from land border stations after consultation, including relevant chambers of commerce and trade bodies.

However, the section has been deleted causing severe problems for Afghan exporters and Pakistani importers.

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