KABUL: Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul, Zahid Nasrullah, says he has shared the issue of the increase in import duty on Afghan goods with his country’s authorities.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) says Pakistan has increased customs duty and taxes on 200 of types of imported goods including grapes and pomegranates from Afghanistan.
As a result, exports from Kandahar to Pakistan have come to a halt and the increased duty has a negative impact on exports from Kabul and other areas of the country.
Nasrullah told a press conference on Saturday here that the Pakistani government had not only increased import duty on Afghan goods but on imports from many countries.
He said Pakistan after sustaining deficit in financial budget increased taxes on 400 types of imported goods, including goods from Afghanistan.
Nasrullah said he had asked his government to exclude Afghanistan from the decision made. He said the Pakistani government had considered his suggestion and hoped his request would be accepted.
Nasrullah said some media outlets reported that Afghanistan-Pakistan trade relations had deteriorated but this was not true.
“According to our central bank, Pakistan is still the biggest market for Afghan exports and recently Afghan exports to Pakistan have increased by 27 percent.”
Nasrullah continued Afghanistan’s major exports to Pakistan were fresh and dried fruits worth about $200 million.
He said a special facility for Afghan fresh fruits had been established at the Torkham border crossing in order the Afghan exports reached Pakistani markets on time.
The Pakistani Ambassador, in response to a question about the US strategy, said discussions had taken place in this regard. “We want to cooperate and support Kabul and the US in the fight against terrorism but other countries should also discharge their duty in this regard.”
About the fencing along the Duran Line, the envoy said the move was aimed at preventing terrorists and smugglers.
He said the official crossing points were open to people and traders, adding though the Afghan government didn’t accept the Durand Line as international ‘border’ but they accepted it and Pakistan was fencing its own territory.