LAHORE - Members at the first meeting of the Wagah Trade Committee asked for the resolution of the logistics issues and for harmonisation of quality standards of both neighbouring countries of Pakistan and India to enhance trade volume.

The meeting at the head office of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan was attended by the representatives of trade bodies related to textiles, pharmaceuticals, auto parts, agriculture, the Pakistan Customs, the National Logistic Cell, the FPCCI, the LCCI, the Punjab Industries Department and the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority. The meeting was headed by the TDAP director general here, Sher Afgan Khan.

The Committee has been established by the Ministry of Commerce and is assigned to perform functions including monitoring of the trade pattern, import pricing through Wagah, identifying issues and making recommendations with regard to trade facilitation at Wagah.

Director General Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Lahore Sher Afgan Khan said that the government is committed to address the concerns and reservations of the business community in perspective of Pak India bilateral trade through Wagah and that with their collaboration an effective mechanism would be chalked out to safeguard the interest of all the stakeholders.  According to the spokesperson, the DG TDAP while briefing the representatives of the industry said that committee has been established by the Ministry of Commerce and is assigned to perform the functions including monitoring trade pattern, import pricing through Wagah; identifying issues and making recommendations with regard to trade facilitation at Wagah.

The Committee discussed in detail the relevant issues pertaining to the above mentioned four sectors in context of Wagah trade. The trade bodies appreciated TDAP for providing platform to address issues relating to trade being routed through Wagah trade route.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association and APTMA appreciated the efforts of the government to open up trade with India via Wagah border as it facilitates their supply chain mechanism and offset the freight cost of import as compared to Karachi Port. APTMA highlighted the issue of logistics on Pakistan side of border particularly in weight variation.  Representatives of NLC and customs requested the exporters to approach the authorities on time so that logistic issues may be handled effectively. NLC also informed that they are installing more weigh-bridges to redress the issues of variations being observed in the weight of shipments. Members highlighted the importance of packaging and containerization to harmonize the trade between Wagah-Attari.   Farmer Association of Pakistan (FAP), PAAPAM and PPMA also requested that the government should also include the products used as inputs / raw material for their respective industry through land route from Wagah.

Members of the committee appreciated Ministry of Commerce’s initiative to hold regular meetings on Wagah land route by inviting all the major stakeholders and providing a forum in TDAP Lahore.

They were of the opinion that it will give them a direct access to government for resolving their outstanding issues. The committee members also suggested involving the stakeholders of both the sides of the border to resolve the logistics issues of harmonisation of standards.