Pakistan allows exports to Afghanistan in rupees

CARACHI:

In a bid to streamline regional connectivity and trade, Pakistan has allowed traders to settle exports of 14 items with Afghanistan in local currency.

The items included poultry, meat, cement, pharmaceuticals, textiles, fruits, vegetables, salt, rice, surgical instruments, etc., the PM’s trade adviser revealed and investment, Abdul Razak Dawood.

On his official Twitter account, the adviser mentioned on Friday that the Ministry of Commerce had received questions about exports to Afghanistan in Pakistani rupees.

“We would like to clarify that to facilitate exports to Afghanistan, the Ministry of Commerce has authorized the settlement of exports of 14 items in Pakistani rupees,” Dawood added.

Talk to The Express GrandstandEmployers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) President Ismail Suttar welcomed the development and said it would pave the way for new access to Afghan markets.

“In the past, we lost Afghan markets to the Indians, but now it’s our turn to take advantage,” he noted.

Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) officials also viewed the move as a positive initiative taken by the Trade Division to facilitate bilateral trade.

The border areas of the two countries would reap the benefits of the new development, after the issuance of Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) 176(1)2022 by the ministry, PBF Vice Chairman Ahmad Jawad said. The Express Grandstand.

In the past, bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan faced serious obstacles, he recalled and added that regional trade and connectivity were key to achieving much-needed economic progress.

“We need to focus on boosting regional trade,” he said, adding that Afghanistan has huge export potential for Pakistan.

In this regard, Pakistan should also hold trade fairs in different cities in Afghanistan, Jawad pointed out.

He was of the view that if Pakistan failed to tap into neighboring country’s markets, other countries would seize the opportunity.

Elaborating, he cited the example of China, as the country expanded aid to Afghanistan and planned to penetrate its markets.

A simple local currency export settlement mechanism should be notified by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) as a matter of priority, in order to increase Pakistan’s exports to the neighboring country to match previous levels, stressed Jawad.

Arif Habib Commodities CEO Ahsan Mehanti said the bilateral trade facilitation agreement came when the country needed to fetch US dollars through exports to pay for imports.

“Pakistan runs a trade deficit in dollars and deals to get export earnings in rupees might not be helpful in financing the deficit,” he said.

“Similar arrangements should be made with China to pay for our imports in rupees to ease the pressure before approaching other countries for the same mechanism.”

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