The Pakistani government has decided to establish four modern border terminals (MBTs) at Wagah, Taftan, Torkhum and Chaman to facilitate further land route trade with India, Iran, Afghanistan and possibly central Asian states under trade agreements.
The task for establishing the border terminals on these four land routes has been given to the National Logistics Cell (NLC), Daily Times reported Saturday.
The need for establishing modern border terminals was felt to facilitate the land route trade that is expected to grow fast due to the preferential trade agreements and other trade agreements.
The agreements include the operational bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement with Iran, the South Asian Free Trade Agreement ( SAFTA) that is going to be operational from Jan. 1, 2006, and a possible preferential trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan. All these require modern terminal facilities for vehicles carrying commercial cargoes while coming or leaving Pakistan, said the paper.
The MBT at Wagah will facilitate the land route trade between Pakistan and India and further to other member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation when the SAFTA agreement will be operational.
The MBT at Taftan will facilitate the land route trade between Pakistan and Iran and further to other neighboring countries when it is completed in near future.
The Torkhum MBT will facilitate land route trade between Pakistan and central Asian states as the trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan crossed the mark of one billion US dollars in the July-May period of the last fiscal 2004-05 that ended on June 30.
The MBT to be established at Chaman will facilitate land route trade under the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement as well as the trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan through land route.
The idea for establishing these terminals was discussed at a meeting held under the chairmanship of the minister for commerce on June 8 and later the issue was presented before Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz for the final approval.
In order to facilitate trade at the Pakistan border crossing points, Aziz has directed the NLC to establish these terminals at the earliest time.