On November 27, the Afghan government raised customs duties on kinnow imports, presenting challenges for exporters and local farmers. The new duty stands at Rs. 2.9 million per 35-ton container, marking a significant 43.5% increase from the previous year. This development adds concerns to the ongoing fruit harvesting season.
Sargodha, renowned for producing high-quality citrus fruit like kinnow, is particularly affected. Afghanistan has traditionally been a crucial market for Pakistani kinnow, but recent measures by the Afghan government against its import pose challenges for exporters.
Expressing apprehensions about the sudden customs duty hike, stakeholders in the kinnow trade have urged the federal government and the commerce minister to engage with the Kabul government. They seek a more rationalized tax structure, emphasizing that meeting export targets will be difficult without prompt corrective measures. The Afghan market represents nearly half of total Pakistani kinnow exports.
Former SCCI president Shoaib Ahmad Basra recalled a similar situation last year when Kabul increased tax rates but later reduced them by 60% following intervention from Islamabad, underscoring the importance of diplomatic efforts in addressing trade challenges between the two nations.