Pakistan Customs Reveals Startling 330% Surge in Almond Imports under Afghan Transit Trade

Pakistan Customs Reveals Startling 330% Surge in Almond Imports under Afghan Transit Trade

Karachi, November 20, 2023 – Pakistan Customs has disclosed a staggering 330% increase in almond imports under the Afghan Transit Trade, while simultaneously reporting a significant 62% decline in direct imports into Pakistan.

The revelation has prompted customs authorities to conduct a thorough analysis of the import data, resulting in the issuance of a new valuation ruling to ensure accurate duty and tax collection.

The import data for almonds over the past three financial years has revealed a substantial mismatch between direct imports into Pakistan and those facilitated through Afghan Transit Trade. In the fiscal year 2020-21, the import value for Pakistan stood at Rs 1.77 billion, which sharply decreased to Rs 0.68 billion in FY 2022-23. Conversely, imports under Afghan Transit Trade skyrocketed from Rs 2.34 billion in FY 2020-21 to a staggering Rs 10.07 billion in FY 2022-23.

In response to the disparities in almond import figures, Pakistan Customs has issued a new valuation ruling, numbered 1826/2023. This ruling is aimed at revising the customs value of imported almonds, ensuring accurate assessment of duties and taxes. The previous valuation rulings, including Valuation Ruling No.1209/2017 and Valuation Ruling No. PESH/01/2022, were deemed outdated and not reflective of the prevailing international market conditions.

To determine updated customs values, a meeting was convened on October 31, 2023, involving relevant stakeholders. Importers expressed concerns that the existing customs values did not align with the international market trends. Following the stakeholders’ request, Pakistan Customs conducted a comprehensive analysis, including a 90-day clearance data retrieval, market inquiry, and consultation with industry participants.

Ninety days’ clearance data was scrutinized, followed by a market inquiry conducted in accordance with Customs Act provisions. Valuation methods specified in Section 25 of the Customs Act, 1969, were applied sequentially to determine customs values. The transaction value method was found inapplicable due to insufficient information, leading to the exploration of identical/similar goods value methods as per Section 25(5) & (6) of the Customs Act, 1969.

However, due to incomplete information and variations in declarations, the data could not be solely relied upon. To address this, Pakistan Customs conducted a market survey under subsection (7) of Section 25 of the Customs Act, 1969, visiting various retail and wholesale markets to observe actual almond prices. Based on the collected data and the conducted exercise, customs values for almonds were determined under subsection (7), read with Section 25(9) of the Customs Act, 1969.

The shocking surge in almond imports under Afghan Transit Trade raises questions about the transparency and control mechanisms in place. The new valuation ruling aims to rectify discrepancies and ensure a fair assessment of duties and taxes. The outcome of this revelation, combined with the ongoing analysis, underscores the need for continuous vigilance and adaptation in response to evolving trade dynamics.