First shipment from Pakistan leaves for Uzbekistan under TIR system

Islamabad: Pakistan’s first transport under the TIR system to Uzbekistan via the land route has been termed as a landmark achievement that can transform the country’s trade and transit potential.

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Today, “a milestone has been achieved in Pakistan’s transit trade history” as Pakistan Customs processed the first-ever TIR consignment from Pakistan’s coastal city of Karachi city for Uzbekistan’s capital city Tashkent via Afghanistan, said PM’s advisor on commerce and investment, Abdul Razak Dawood. The consignment carrying medicines successfully crossed into Afghanistan on April 30 after completion of all custom formalities at Torkham border.

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“This is the beginning of a new era” which would pave the way for free movement of trucks between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs), Dawood said. The successful TIR operation will usher a new era of direct land route trade connecting Pakistan with the Central Asian states, he said, lauding the efforts of the Pakistan Customs for facilitating the shipment.

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Connectivity potential

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The trade route from Pakistan to Uzbekistan has been described as the first step towards achieving Pakistan government’s long-term vision to develop and expand trade and economic partnership with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and all Central Asian Republics (CARs), commerce advisor said. The development is also a significant moment for unlocking Pakistan’s potential to become a regional trade hub as well as improving trade and connectivity for regional development and prosperity.

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The trade move “will ensure that Pakistan leverages its geoeconomic location in the region to enhance its international trade” the official said. Connectivity with Pakistan’s trading partners is vital for viable trade relations, he said, adding that trade must be based on secure, open, consistent, reliable and legal movement of goods at the Afghan border along with enhanced connectivity with Central Asian region.

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Safe and reliable

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The implementation of the TIR system simplifies and streamlines border crossing procedures, significantly reducing trade transaction costs and time, facilitating the movement of trade and the transit of goods at border crossings, he said. The TIR system can unleash the potential for Pakistan to become a pivotal transit country and significantly improve its trade potential to the markets in Central Asia and eventually Europe.

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The United Nations TIR (international road transport), the only global transit system, enables easy, secure and reliable way to move goods across borders in sealed load compartments under a robust mechanism. Under the system, trucks use one single international guarantee and the customs formalities take place at origin and destination rather than at each border crossing. Pakistan became a member of TIR Convention in 2017.

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