Synchronising ports: FBR directed to declare Sust as transit border
LAHORE: The Ministry of Communications has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to declare Sust as a transit border and to synchronise it with all the ports using Web Based One Customs (Weboc).
The direction was issued on the orders of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI). According to an office memorandum of the Ministry of Communications, FBR was asked to take necessary steps to complete the clearance procedures and declare Sust as a transit border. All other ports may also be synchronised with the Weboc system.
LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said that Pakistan made quadrilateral agreements with China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to facilitate trade and transport through its territory between Sust border and Karachi port, which has been operational since 2004. “Some Pakistani import and export cargoes are moving to and from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan on Chinese trucks, whereas Pakistani transport vehicles are not being used. Moreover, Kazakh, Kirghiz and Chinese goods are not transiting through Pakistani ports due to the absence of a regulatory framework,” he added.
No Statutory Regulator Order (SRO) has been issued to declare Sust as transit border by Customs Department to implement the quadrilateral agreement yet, he said, adding that the working on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has also started and the transporters are going to face similar problems at Gwadar and Kashgar. The LCCI president was of the view that Sust should be declared a transit border for movement of goods under the said agreement, which would help increase trade activities between Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Arshad also said that Pakistan has already ratified the UN Convention on International Transport of Goods (TIR) to facilitate border trade and has also ratified World Trade Organisation (WTO’s) trade facilitation agreement (TFA), which contains provision for speeding up the movement to release and clear goods, including those in transit.
“At present, Pakistan facilitates only Afghan transit goods through electronic goods declaration (GD) filing. In this regard, all the clearance procedures at Sust (and at other ports) should also be synchronised with Weboc to speed things up,” he added.