Pakistan. Export of wheat flour suffers as Afghan government imposes extra duty


The export of wheat flour from Pakistan to Afghanistan has suffered as Afghan authorities reportedly increased custom duty on the commodity. Exporters blamed that the Afghan government had imposed extra custom duty on import of flour from Pakistan, and restricted import of the commodity from the country. They said the restriction would only mean to give leverage to exporters of India and Central Asian countries, to hold over market in Afghanistan.

A visible decline in export of flour from Pakistan has been noticed, as compared to flour exporting figure of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, said Subhan, an exporter of flour to Afghanistan in Peshawar. He further said the business of wheat flour had been suffered for the last four months and it further deteriorated when the government of Pakistan withheld subsidy granted on the export of flour.

On last Tuesday, the export of flour from Pakistan to Afghanistan was suspended temporarily after the authorities in the neighbouring country increased custom duty on the commodity along with signing an agreement with India for import of wheat and flour. The flour exporters and dealers in Peshawar stopped export of the commodity to Afghanistan as they were asked by the Afghan authorities at Torkham border to deposit additional amount as custom duty, said the custom officials.

Last year, on subsidised rate, Subhan said they had exported 100-150 trucks flour on daily basis that decreased to 15-20 trucks per day after holdback subsidy. The exporters informed that the commodity rate in Tajikistan is $360-370 per ton while the flour rate in Pakistan is $390-400 per ton besides the Afghan custom imposed additional duty of Rs 100,000 per vehicle on import of flour from Pakistan.

Owing to cheaper rates of the commodity in Afghanistan market, being imported from Tajikestan and other central Asian countries it is not possible for Pakistani exporters to sell their goods, Subhan said.

Zarqeeb Khan, President Torkham custom clearance agents association, said that anti-people policies had been adopted by both the Pakistani and Afghan governments that ultimately affected businesses at both side of the border. He said that on one hand, Pakistan restricted Torkham border and entry to Pakistan was conditioned with legal travelling documents while one the other hand the Afghan custom imposed extra-duty on import on flour to provide opportunity to importers of flour from central Asian countries and India.

He maintained that if the situation remained the same, export to Afghanistan would further suffered as the Afghan was intended to impose additional tax on cement and other export items from Pakistan. As per official in Torkham Pakistan used to export annually ten lakh tons flour to Afghanistan that decreasing day by day and time would come when it halted completely.

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