Market analysts in Kabul on Wednesday claimed that Pakistan has increased tariffs on imports of fresh fruits from Afghanistan, a move said to be in clear violation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement (APTTA) signed in 2011.
Critics have pointed blame at the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoIC), arguing the government has done too little to help Afghan farmers and fruit traders get access to important markets like Pakistan. They say Pakistan raises tariffs, or takes similar steps, in order to exploit harvest seasons in Afghanistan every year.
University lecturer Sayid Massoud told TOLOnews that Afghanistan lacks policies to support Afghan farmers, establish freezer stocks, provide them packaging facilities and export their products in timely manner.
“Today, they are dependent on tariff increases and decreases by Pakistan due to the lack of facilitates I mentioned,” Massoud said.
Meanwhile, officials from the MoIC confirmed the claims about Pakistan’s tariff increases, and assured that everything would be done to remediate the situation.
MoIC spokesman Musafir Qoqandi said letters have already been sent to Pakistan’s Embassy in Kabul and their customs offices along the shared border. “We are sure that the problem will be solved in the near future,” Qoqandi said.
Pakistan exports millions of dollars worth of fruits and vegetables annually to Central Asia through Afghanistan, so there is a natural competitiveness between Afghan and Pakistani fruit producers and traders. However, the Afghan government has never increased tariffs on Pakistani fruit products.