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First shipment under TIR convention for Uzbekistan leaves


Jul 12, 2014
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ISLAMABAD: After a delay of 30 months, the first-ever shipment under the Convention on the International Transport of Goods for traffic-in-transit of goods across the border has left for Uzbekistan from Pakistan via the Torkham border customs station.

Pakistan Customs processed the first-ever TIR consignment from Karachi at Torkham destined for Tashkent via Afghanistan. The consignment consisted of herbal medicines and after completion of all Customs formalities at Torkham it crossed into Afghanistan.

Islamabad signed the Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) in August 2015, which is a multilateral treaty that entails no payment of Customs duties and taxes. Pakistan ratified the convention in January 2016.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) notified rules for the implementation of TIR in October 2017 with a delay of 27 months since the ratification of the convention.

As many as 77 countries including Afghanistan have acceded to the TIR convention so far. As a result of this, the Afghan government will not check Pakistani trucks carrying goods to Central Asian countries. It will also ensure uninterrupted flows of trucks across the Pak-Afghan border.

Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood said that this is a moment of great pride for Pakistan and lauded the efforts and role of the Pakistan Customs in this regard, an official announcement. “This successful TIR operation will usher a new era of direct land-route trade with the CARs,” he remarked.

Mr Dawood said the use of TIR system will streamline border procedure cutting time and money for trade and transport operators.

The commerce adviser said that connectivity with trading partners is vital for viable trade relations. He said that the structure and efficiency connectivity networks enable access to markets and should be considered a facet of the trade competitiveness.

Mr Dawood said the long-term vision of the government for trade and economic relations with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs) is that we want to make Pakistan a hub for trade, transit and transhipment.

He said that the trade must be based on secure, open, consistent, reliable and legal movement of goods at the Afghan border along with enhanced connectivity with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and CARs.

This will ensure that Pakistan leverages its geo-economic location in the region to enhance its international trade. He said that the current engagement with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, are steps towards implementation of this vision.

The Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods under Cover of TIR Carnets (called the “TIR Convention”) came into force in March 1978 and it replaced the original Transport Internationaux Routier (TIR) of 1959.

The TIR Convention 1975 is one of the most successful international transport conventions and is so far the only universal Customs transit system in existence. To date, it has 77 Contracting Parties, including the European Union China, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and all CARs. It covers the whole of Europe and reaches out to North Africa and the Near and Middle East. More than 33,000 operators are authorised to use the TIR system and around 1.5 million TIR transports are carried out per year.

The objective of the TIR Convention is to facilitate international transit through simplified Customs transit procedures and an international guarantee system. Customs procedure takes place at origin and destination rather than at each border crossing, using a single guarantee.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2021

We need Wakhan Corridor so we can secure trade with Central Asia without any sort of drama from Afghanis.
This is great news. I hope the establishing of container handling facilities in Gwadar will help greatly in serving land-locked Central Asian countries for various exports and imports.

For Bangladesh, importing cotton from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian Republics (CARs) will be greatly facilitated I'm sure.

Uzbekistan eyes Pakistan’s Gwadar Port as gateway for seaborne cotton exports
Chu Daye
Published: Mar 17, 2021 11:23 PM

The Gwadar Port in Pakistan Photo: IC

The Gwadar Port in Pakistan Photo: IC

Uzbekistan, one of the world's leading cotton exporters, sent a high-level delegation earlier this week to the Chinese-invested Gwadar Port in Pakistan to look for logistics opportunities that might help it export its cotton, the Global Times has learned.

Analysts said the move highlighted the big potential demand countries have for an international public facility such as the Gwadar Port, a deep-water port that may open a coveted sea trade option for landlocked Central Asian countries.

A 16-member high-level delegation from Uzbekistan, led by Vice Minister of Railways Akmal Kamalov and the country's Ambassador to Pakistan Oybek Arif Usmanov, visited the port on Tuesday, according to a press release from the China Overseas Ports Holding Co, the port's operator, on Wednesday.

Accompanied by Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Naseer Khan Kashani and Zhang Baozhong, chairman of the China Overseas Ports Holding Co, the delegation observed the loading/offloading of cargoes by a containership operated by Chinese shipping giant COSCO Shipping Holdings. They discussed the matter of regional connectivity and the possibility of building and investing in a logistics park at the Gwadar free trade area.

When reached by the Global Times, Zhang said he had no further information at the moment.

However, on his WeChat account on Wednesday, Zhang noted that Uzbekistan is the world's sixth-largest producer and second-largest exporter of cotton. He also wrote that Uzbekistan is pushing for a diplomatic move among Central Asian countries, including top-level diplomatic visits to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, for a southbound logistics corridor via the Gwadar Port.

Afghanistan has become the first landlocked Central Asian country to benefit from using the Gwadar Port in transshipment trade. In 2020, the country imported 43,000 tons of fertilizers via the port, contributing to its agricultural development.

The port's dry bulk cargo business grew more than 1,100 percent to 57,000 tons in 2020 compared with 2018.

Zhou Rong, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, said that the Gwadar Port has the best infrastructure among all ports in the region.

"The infrastructure there is superb. Both in terms of its deep-water berths and its onshore port infrastructure, the Gwadar Port beats its peers in Iran and India," Zhou told the Global Times on Wednesday.

However, for such a southbound corridor to work, other regional countries including China and Iran will have to be involved to make an overland passage possible, given the current instability in Afghanistan, Zhou said.

Located in Pakistan's southwest province of Balochistan, the Gwadar Port is a key project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

According to data from the US Department of Agriculture, Uzbekistan exported 503,000 tons of cotton in 2015, with Bangladesh and China as its leading destinations.

The country's cotton exports fell in recent years due to a shrinking planting area and an increase in domestic consumption.
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