In a major achievement towards ensuring ease of doing business, Pakistan has jumped 31 places to be on the 111th on the rank of Trading Across Border Index.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) made trading across borders easier by focusing on three crucial areas: enhancing the integration of various agencies in the Web-Based One Customs (WEBOC) electronic system; reducing the number of documents required for import and export clearances; and enhancing capacities of Pakistan Customs officials to play pro-active role in smoothly regulating border trade.

By climbing up the ladder in Trading Across Border Index, Pakistan has also jumped 28 places – from 136th to 108th – in World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business 2020’ and secured a place among the top 10 countries. This milestone has led Pakistan to be the sixth global reformer and first in South Asia that has brought ease in doing business for the national and international trade.

It is important to note that border facilitation is amongst the top priority areas as per the comprehensive policy laid down by the government. Concerted efforts by Pakistan Customs, under FBR, led to impressive performance in terms of compliance to the provisions of World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement; hence, complementing Pakistan’s rise in Trading Across Border Index.

Pakistan Customs has pursued implementation of effective customs controls so that compliant trade is thoroughly facilitated, while lesser/non-compliant trade is diverted to detailed scrutiny. This strategy worked well, as conceived by Pakistan Customs, and has gone a long way in reducing the dwell time (at the borders/ports) for imports/exports in Pakistan by increasing the percentage of clearances through Green Channel. For instance, the time required for documentary compliance to effect exports has been reduced from 55 hours to 24 hours, and the time required for overall border compliance to effect exports has also been reduced from 75 hours to 24 hours. Similarly, the time required for documentary compliance to effect imports has been reduced from 143 hours to 24 hours, and the time required for overall border compliance to effect imports has also been reduced from 120 hours to 24 hours.

In order to further improve Pakistan’s position in Trading Across Border criterion, FBR is pursuing simultaneous completion of Regional Improvement of Border Services (RIBS) and Pakistan Single Window. RIBS is being implemented at Torkham, Chaman and Wagah and is the flagship programme that aims at improving border-crossing facilities which are key transit points to Afghanistan and India. Pakistan Single Window, on the other hand, would integrate online at least 46 departments/agencies in Pakistan and would make trading across border a hassle free and seamless operation.

Hamza Habib is a senior journalist and former editor of who has previously worked for leading newspapers and TV networks of the country. He mainly writes on the economy and political issues.


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