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Pakistan Removes Duty on Afghan Fruits & Vegetables

Wednesday 9 May 2018

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok Afghan News) – According to a statement from the Afghan Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan has promised the withdrawal of regulatory duties on fruits and vegetables imported from Afghanistan. The assurance was given on Tuesday when high-level officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan met in Islamabad, a said.

Deputy Minister of Commerce Kamila Sidiqi led the Afghan delegation, which met Secretary Commerce Mohammad Younas Dagha at the Ministry of Commerce. Officials of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Federal Board of Revenue and Foreign Office also attended the meeting.

The visiting team signaled its willingness to consider resumption of talks under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Cooperation Authority (APTTCA) meeting. Both sides expressed their desire to enhance trade relations by overcoming existing challenges. The discussion focused on the quarantine certification and removal of regulatory duties on selected items.

During his recent visit to Kabul, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had vowed to undo the regulatory duty on fruits and vegetable and remove non-tariff barriers on Afghan exports.

Afghanistan is a fertile country which produces about 1.5 mln tons of fresh fruit a year, 500,000 tons of which is being exported and the rest is sold on the domestic market. According to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) a large amount of products spoils every year due to the lack of standard cold rooms. However, last year the volume of fresh fruit exports has increased by 40%.

According to ACCI officials, 90% of Afghanistan’s vegetables and fresh fruits are exported to Pakistan but because of repeated border closures a large amount of the fruit does not reach its destination. Although in the last year the opening of air corridors with a number of countries increased the amount of fruit being exported, economic experts said this would still not benefit the larger market.

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