Though the transit trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan does not have any negative list of goods, the Pakistani Ministry of Commerce has imposed restrictions on the flow of automobile products through land, sea and air routes in an effort to stop their smuggling, according to Express Tribune.
The Pakistani ministry, however, permits the shipment of auto parts to Afghanistan in some cases. Talking to The Express Tribune, a senior Pakistani government official said spare parts of Toyota vehicles had already been brought to Karachi though there were curbs on their shipment to Kabul.
The United Nations Assistance Mission exerted pressure on the Pakistan government, arguing that these goods had reached Karachi Port and they were forced to pay demurrage cost due to delay in their clearance, he said.
The commerce ministry placed the matter before a cabinet meeting earlier this month and sought its approval for allowing transportation of the automobile products to Afghanistan.
According to the official, the ministry told the cabinet that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan had approached and requested Pakistan to allow the transportation of containers containing 51 packages of Toyota vehicles’ spare parts from Karachi to Kabul via Torkham.
The Pakistani ministry pointed out that the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement 2010 had no provision to allow the transit of consignments consisting of non-commercial automobiles and spare parts via Pakistan to Afghanistan.
It also denied the presence of any negative and prohibited list of goods under the transit agreement. However, it said it prohibited the entry of auto parts into Pakistan for shipment to Afghanistan by sea, land and air routes in a bid to tackle widespread illegal trade and smuggling.
Earlier, the ministry had allowed the movement of vehicles with spare parts from time to time for the United Nations and associated organisations such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Assistance Mission and the World Health Organisation.
However, the ministry said, following a judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the permission in such cases should now be granted by the federal cabinet.
The Pakistani cabinet reviewed the summary submitted by the Commerce Division and accorded approval for the shipment of containers from Karachi to Kabul.