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Afghan goods for India via Wahgah: APTTA to allow duty-free transit

ISLAMABAD  : Pakistan has agreed to allow duty-free transit facility to Afghanistan for goods destined for India through Wahgah border.The Cabinet recently approved the much-talked about Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).  No customs duties and taxes shall be levied on goods in transit regardless of their destination, said the APTTA. According to the agreement, exclusively obtained by Business Recorder from the Cabinet Division, which is yet to be signed, the contracting parties (Afghanistan and Pakistan) agree to grant temporary admission to means of transport, used or intended to be used, for the carriage of goods under the customs transit regime through their territories. In particular, motor vehicles (and fuel contained in its standard supply tanks, its lubricants, maintenance supplies and spare parts in reasonable quantities) shall enter the territory of the other contracting parties without payment of import duties and other taxes, subject to the conditions laid down in protocol two (2) to the agreement on  temporary admission or road vehicles for commercial use , provided that no duty/tax credit shall be allowed in respect of goods supplied or services rendered to the vehicles of the other contracting party.  The agreement further says that Pakistan is to construct separate storage facilities for dangerous goods to be imported by Afghanistan at Karachi Port, Port Qasim and Gwadar Port. The shipper will select, according to the needs, the mode and means of transport to be used for traffic in transit within the territory of other contracting parties (countries).  All vehicles will remain within the specified routes of the territory of the other contracting party and to exit the same within specified time.  In case of force majeure or breakdown, accident of vehicle, the time may be extended by the permit issuing authority of the host country.  Export of perishable goods in transit (like fruits and vegetables etc) shall be transported in open trucks or other transport units. Subject to the provisions of the agreement, the contracting parties shall endeavour to facilitate and speed up the transport of perishable goods and to grant a priority regime for border crossing clearance formalities to avoid undue delay. In case of bulk or oversized cargo, which cannot be placed in sealed containers, other means of transport sufficiently secured for customs and transit control purposes shall be used.  Up to 5 percent containers arriving at the port of entry will be subject to examination under the risk management system.  No further inspection is allowed en route unless irregularity is suspected as provided in the revised Kyoto Convention 1999. Each contracting party may levy charges generally applicable for all traffic in the territories of the contracting parties including fees for weighment, scanning and sealing by customs official, toll for the use of roads, bridges, tunnels and parking or those commensurate with the administrative expenses which result from traffic in transit or with the costs of services rendered.  All charges imposed on traffic in transit shall be reasonable and applied in a non-discriminatory manner.


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