KARACHI: The fifth meeting of Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) will be held next month at the Commerce Ministry, Islamabad, Transit Trade Director General Khawar Farid Maneka has told Customs Today.
He said transportation, reduced travelling time and training of Afghan customs officials to help them get familiar with the automation and computerisation are on the agenda.
He also said that an inter-ministerial preparatory meeting was held a few months ago to discuss and finalize the list of agenda items for the APTTCA fifth Round.
Representatives from the Interior Ministry, Railways Ministry, Commerce Ministry, Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Ministry of Communications, Federal Board of Revenue, National Highway Authority and Higher Education Commission took part in the meeting.
Transportation is one of the important points to be discussed in the fifth meeting of APTTCA, Maneka said. Afghan officials would be encouraged to make railway a preferred choice of cargo shipments to Afghanistan because it was not only a safer means of transportation, but is also much easier to monitor it, he added.
Finding the means and ways to help substantially reduce the travelling time of Afghan Transit Trade from Karachi ports to Kabul also lists high on the APTTCA agenda list.
“Presently, the average travelling time of the transit trade from the ports of Karachi to Afghanistan is between 8-10 days but we feel that it could be reduced to 7 or less days and thus this important point also makes the list of agenda for the APTTCA meeting,” the director general said.
The Pakistani government would also offer to train Afghan Customs officials in the fields of automation and computer usage so that they could make electronic data interchange, which has already been launched at the Torkham border.
The training of Afghan officials would help reduce the clearance time and also the timely reconciliation of transit cargoes so that the entire process becomes more transparent, Maneka concluded.