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July 15, 2020

Business community wants Pak-Afghan trade improved

Peshawar

July 15, 2020

PESHAWAR: The business community has urged Pakistan and Afghanistan to rationalize tariffs, review duties, change complicated regulations and policies to improve the mutual trade volume and transit trade between the two countries.

“The Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) signed back in 2011, should be reviewed. Apprehensions and reservations of traders, exporters and importers on this trade pact should be addressed and a fresh agreement inked,” Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz demanded while chairing a meeting during a visit of Afghan Consul General in Peshawar, Najeebullah Ahmadzai to the Chamber’s House on Tuesday. SCCI Senior Vice-president Shahid Hussain, Vice-President Abdul Jalil Jan, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, Afghan Commercial Attaché, Fawad Arash, Hameed Fazilkhel, Ghulam Habib and others were present at the meeting.

Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz said Pakistan and Afghanistan trade volume is very low, which needs to be improved by taking joint measures by both government of Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Islamabad and Kabul should set aside other matters and focus on improvement of mutual trade volume and ensure provision of facilities to businessmen on both sides of the border to ease their difficulties,” the SCCI chief emphasised. “Up to 100 percent scanning and examination of Pak-Afghan transit trade containers/trucks at the Karachi Port was against the APTTA agreement as only 20 per cent scanning was allowed,” he added. The SCCI president said the mutual Pak-Afghan bilateral trade volume had declined from $ 2.5billion to less than $ 1billion because of enforcement complicated regulations, policies, high tariffs and duties, which should be altered to strengthen the bilateral trade as well as transit trade between the two neighbouring countries. The Afghan diplomat said that his government was taking steps to resolve issues of Pakistan traders, importers and exporters and facilitate them at every level.

“Afghanistan wants to promote cordial trade, economic, culture and religious ties with Pakistan,” Najeebullah Ahmadzai said. He said the country had always kept politics and trade separate and stressed that both Pakistan and Afghanistan should need to work out a joint mechanism to resolve issues of the business community on a fast-track basis.

The Afghan diplomat said the Afghan government was taking measures to facilitate Pakistani businessmen. He suggested that a meeting of Pakistanis exporters and importers should be held at Torkham border to devise a joint mechanism for amicable resolution of their problems. Zahidullah Shinwari, Faiz Muhammad, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, Naeem Butt, Aftab Iqbal, Mujeebur Rehman and others also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the issues.