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July 4, 2015

Pakistan offers Gwadar Port as transit hub to Central Asian countries


July 4, 2015

KARACHI: Pakistan has proposed the landlocked Central Asian countries to use its Gwadar port as transit hub to explore trade opportunities in the Middle Eastern and African markets, a minister said.
Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan, talking to media persons later this week, said the government offered central Asian countries, including Tajikistan and Turkmenistan to use Gwadar as transit port via land route through Afghanistan.
“Central Asian countries can use Gwadar as transit port,” Khan said. Pakistan is focusing on Central Asia and Far East Asia to increase its exports.
He said Gwadar will be connected to Afghanistan via Pakistan’s Chaman border through construction of roads.
He added that Pakistan needs Afghanistan’s route to have an access to central Asian region.
Therefore, Afghanistan was allowed to use its trucks for commercial logistics. The neighbouring country will be provided with cargo train services from this month.
Minister Khan said Afghanistan’s cargo clearance takes only 48 hours, saying its complaints regarding clearance delay have been addressed.
About the Federal Export Development Board, he said it will soon be revived, adding that the Prime Minister will head the board.
He said the commerce ministry alone cannot increase exports as it is a team work of various departments. “We want to give maximum support to businessmen,” he added.
The commerce minister said the draft of the three-year strategic trade policy framework is ready to be unveiled soon.
On investment, he said the situation is not satisfactory, adding that the ministry is trying to persuade local and foreign investors.
He added that investment is not coming to Karachi because of the law and order situation.
He said political stability is required for the economic stability.
Talking about decline in cotton and yarn prices, the minister said economic growth in China and other countries receded,

impacting local yarn exports.
On a question regarding wheat import, he said the wheat import is not banned, adding that however the grain import is being discouraged through rise in regulatory duty to provide relief to local growers.
He said billions of rupees defrauded by the corruption in the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan have been recovered.

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