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Meeting of Standing Committee on Commerce

Islamabad: Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan, MNA chaired the 48th meeting of Standing Committee on Commerce on Thursday the 26th January, 2012 at 10100 am in Committee Room No. 7, Parliament House, Islamabad. The agenda of meeting was as under:-

1. Current status of EU Trade concessions of Pakistan.
2. Current status of investigation into mission containers in transit trade of Afghan commercial goods, NATO/ISAF and United States.
3. Further discussion on Trade Development Authority of Pakistan Bill, 2007.
4. Any other item with the permission of the Chair.

Mrs. Yasmeen Rehman, MNA, Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan, MNA, Haji Muhammad Akram Ansari, MNA, Mr. Hamid Yar Hiraj, MNA, Mrs. Kashmala Tariq, MNA, Ch. Asghar Ali Jatt, MNA, Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan, MNA, Ms. Qudsia Arshad, MNA and Ms. Shahnaz Saleem, MNA attended the meeting.

The Committee offered fateha on sad demise of death of father of Ms. Shireen Arshad Khan, MNA. The Committee expressed concern that Minister for Commerce is as usual not present in the meeting.

With regard to status of European Union (EU) trade concessions to Pakistan, the Committee was informed that EU concessions of 75 items are intact. However, work on tariff related quota by EU is under process and Council on Trade Goods (CTG) will announce concessions on 1st February, 2012 and whole process will be completed in next 03 years.

EU has increased criteria of Generalized Standard Procedure (GSP) for Pakistan from 01% to 02%. Ministry of Commerce has already completed lobbing in favour of Pakistan in Brussels for trade concessions. The Committee recommended that Parliamentarians should be taken on board before trade negotiations with EU and USA etc.

The Committee appreciated that Indian Government have drifted its Trade Policy towards Pakistan. They have made huge Custom/ Trade warehouse across the Wagaha Border. National Logistic Cell (NLC) and Ministry of Commerce have installed scanners and gates. However, proper road was not yet made at the border.

The Committee discussed at length the role of National Logistic Cell (NLC), in Afghan Transit Trade benefits of Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Mutual Trade Agreement, role of Commercial Councillors and decided to discuss these items in a separate meeting.

With regard to containers scandal in the Afghan Transit Trade, the Committee expressed concern that investigation process is slow as out of 28802 Commercial Afghan Transit Trade only 560 trucks have been adjudicated. This process should be accelerated by FBR.

The Committee noted with concern that 157736 Containers were imported in name of Us Military for transit to Afghanistan. For clearance of cargo, no Goods Declaration (GD) filed in PaCCS system and only a unique User ID assigned to US Mission at Karachi was used for clearance of cargo by US Military. In PaCCS system, after Gate-out from Ports/Terminals at Karachi, the information gets flashed on the screens accessible to border Collectorates.

It is responsibility of border Collectorates to record the “Gate-in” i.e. due arrival of cargo at border stations and “Cross-border” events in the system by using the ID assigned to the border Collectorates. Investigation has revealed that “Gate-in” events of 77,884 containers is missing in PaCCS and “Cross-border” event of 95374 containers is missing.

As against 71569 commercial ATT containers imported during February-December. 25th 2011 reflecting 61% decrease. Similarly, as against 15061 non-commercial transit containers imported during Feb.-Dec. 25th 2010, 9372 non-commercial transit containers were imported during Feb. – Dec. 25th 2011 reflecting 38% fall. Analysis of data reveals that diversion of illegal trade to regular import channels has contributed to additional revenue of Rs. 8344 million at import stage during the period of Feb. – Dec. 25th 2011.

The Committee repeatedly enquired from Chairman FBR to furnish following information: –

a. Under what authority trade facility of Goods Declaration (GD) was given to US Government.
b. Under whose orders and authority movement of NATO and ISAF is stopped or restored i.e. containers are stopped or allowed to pass from the border.
c. Full details about GD.

Chairman FBR will furnish copies of all proceedings of Supreme Court and list of FBR officers involved in containers scandal along with relevant documents to the Standing Committee on Commerce. The FBR will examine tariff structure on import of vehicles and send report to the Committee.

For more information, contact:
Karamat Hussain Niazi
Secretary
National Assembly of Pakistan
Parliament House, Islamabad
Tel: +9251 922 1082 -83
Fax: +9251 922 1106

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