ISLAMABAD                       -                   A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Turkey and Federal Board of Revenue on trade facilitation and customs cooperation matters.

The MoU was signed by the Turkish Minister of Trade, Ms Ruhsar Peckan, and the Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Mr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.

Background of the subject achievement is that Federal Board of Revenue identified a number of countries, including Turkey, for Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters in order to strengthen Customs controls and meet the challenges arising from expansion and diversification of Pakistan’s international trade. Enhancement of Customs cooperation (and signing of the subject MoU), therefore, is very important in backdrop of the Turkish President’s current visit to Pakistan.

As a result of mutual communication, Federal Board of Revenue received a draft MoU on the subject matter which was circulated to all stakeholders. After the requisite input, the same has been finalized with the Turkish side. The subject MoU is finalized in furtherance of the “Agreement Between the Republic of Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Co-operation and Mutual Assistance In Customs Matters” signed in Ankara on 20.06.2002.

The areas wherein customs cooperation would be undertaken with Turkish Ministry of Trade and Customs Agency, under this MoU include the cooperation for establishment of Electronic Data Exchange for exchange of information and documents regarding international movements of the goods and vehicles between the parties. It also includes assistance to each other in order to improve customs practices between the two countries. Both countries shall communicate, share and exchange all available information relating to imports, exports, and transit operations. The two countries will cooperate in combating different smuggling methods and customs offences. To ensure the implementation of the provisions of the MoU, a Joint Technical Committee has been constituted.

The benefits arising from the signed MoU include an institutionalized information exchange mechanism between Pakistan and Turkey. It is expected to bring reduced risk of evasion of duties and taxes. Further, it is expected to have reduced clearance time for import or export cargo through application of risk-assessment techniques on the basis of available information. The MoU would assure assistance by Turkish Customs Agency and would promote bilateral trade, including transit trade, in the region. The signing of this MoU would also Increase confidence of Pakistan’s international trading partners.

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Chairperson, FBR, Ms Nausheen Javaid Amjad stated that implementation of this MoU will have a number of benefits for both Turkish Customs Agency and Federal Board of Revenue. According to her, the relevant organizations would be able to exchange vital information seamlessly which would go a long way in facilitating and securing bilateral trade between both countries. She felicitated the officers of Federal Board of Revenue to achieve this milestone in collaboration with the relevant officers of the Ministry of Trade of Turkey.

On this significant development, the Member Customs, Muhammad Javed Ghani underscored the importance of mutual cooperation and assistance in effectively coping with the challenges that Customs and Trade organizations world over are confronting at present.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Turkey have signed an MoU to intensify cooperation in the energy sector. The MoU is part of the other agreements that will be struck during the visit of President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Pakistan.

Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan and his Turk counterpart Fatih Donmez inked the MoU in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Turk President Tayyib Erdogan on Friday. The MoU in the energy sector proposes cooperation in the area of hydrocarbons, joint ventures in exploration and production (E & P) and sharing of best practices in natural gas distribution, transmission , whole sale markets in liquefied petroleum gas market. Pakistani and Turkish sides also agreed to remain in touch to expand cooperation in the energy sector.