Transit price settlement: US willing to pay $1500 per container
ISLAMABAD: Negotiations for settling the transit price of containers to Afghanistan are quietly proceeding with the United States reportedly agreeing to pay $1,500 per container while Pakistan is seeking $2,500, sources told Business Recorder on Thursday.
Sources familiar with the developments said that the authorities concerned of both countries were also engaged in negotiating new terms of engagement for the resumption of Nato supply route. However, no firm deal has yet been reached.
The US, according to the sources, was also seeking a guarantee for the security of Nato supplies to avoid frequent attacks by militants.
Media reports claimed on Thursday that Nato had struck a deal with Pakistan for the container transit fee that would net Pakistan nearly $1 million a day.
US Embassy’s spokesperson Mark Stroh, in response to a question raised by the Business Recorder, denied the deal, but he did say that “discussions are ongoing”. He did not elaborate.
In view of the US announcement to withdraw a major portion of its combat forces from Afghanistan in 2014, the sources said that US negotiators were also seeking a transit facility for their military equipment through Pakistan.
Pakistan had already conveyed to the US that it had not charged a single penny for more than a decade and the container transit fee would be used to repair the road infrastructure that has been badly affected because of heavy traffic.
Business Recorder made several attempts to solicit the views of the Foreign Office, but could not get hold of its spokesperson Moazzam Ahmed Khan for comments.
However, while responding to some media reports regarding the talks between Pakistan and the US, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified in a statement issued here that the government would abide by the recommendations of Parliament in letter and spirit.
“As decided by the Defence Committee of the Cabinet negotiations on Nato supply, question of apology, fresh border ground rules and cessation of drone attacks are being carried out in a transparent manner”, the spokesman said, adding that Pakistan continues to remain engaged with the US on all issues and decisions would be taken in the best national interest.”