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Pakistan has 938 items on Safta sensitive list with Afghanistan

Pakistan has 938 items on Safta sensitive list with Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan maintains a sensitive list of 938 items with Afghanistan under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (Safta), Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir said on Thursday.

Speaking during the question-hour session in the National Assembly, the minister said all other items not on the sensitive list could be imported into Pakistan from the Safta countries, including Afghanistan, at a tariff rate of zero to 5 per cent.

A sensitive list is a list with every country which does not include tariff concession.

Moreover, there were 16 items on which tariff rate was zero on a most favoured nation (MFN) basis, Mr Dastgir said.

He added that Afghanistan maintained a sensitive list of 850 items under Safta, an agreement reached in 2004 at the 12th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc). The agreement was aimed at creating a free trade area of 1.6 billion people (at the time the accord was signed) in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Replying to a question, the minister said that as a matter of policy, Pakistan had granted MFN status to all countries except Israel and India.

He said the federal government did not import whey powder and meat and had no plans to do so in the future. Whey powder, used in confectionary items, is not manufactured in Pakistan.

A total of 20,252 tonnes of whey powder were imported in July-April 2015-16 from France, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine, whereas 264 tonnes of meat were imported from Malaysia, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia during the same period, the minister said.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2016

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