Wednesday January 19, 2022

‘Improved Pak-Afghan trade means regional integration’

December 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce on Investment Razak Dawood on Monday said improving trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan will maximise chances of regional economic integration and enhance the connectivity among neighbouring countries.

In recent trade dialogue, Pakistan and Afghanistan were mainly focusing on transit, bilateral and informal trade issues through the agenda of shared prosperity and peace, the adviser said while addressing the opening session of 8th round of three-day Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). Minister for Commerce and Industry Nisar Ahmad was also present in the meeting.

“We have already allowed Afghanistan to use Gwadar for their transit trade as the same was demanded by the Central Asian States to connect them with Gwadar port in near future,” he said. Pakistan has agreed to provide opportunities to Afghanistan trade items through Gwadar and Bin Qasim ports in a good gesture to enhance the economic ties. Preferential trade agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Afghanistan would be finalized by the end of January next.

The adviser hoped that the review agreement of APTTA would also be signed in coming months of 2021 and investment-related matters would be resolved in the recent bilateral dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The adviser said due to corona and other internal issues Pak- Afghan trade was on halt but now after the normalisation, bilateral and transit trade is expected to achieve previous gains. Both sides would discuss to establish economic zones to enhance the bilateral investment and the trade opportunities.

The adviser said in previous seven rounds of negotiation, actions were agreed in a comprehensive document to support peace and stability. Dawood told media through the recent rounds of dialogue, both sides would resolve all the transit and bilateral trade issues along with issues of other informal trade. In coming month, he would lead delegation to negotiate on the 9th round of APTTA with Afghanistan and all the issues would be resolved through the common agenda of peace and prosperity.

Ahmad said the government of Afghanistan under the leadership of President Ashraf Ghani is committed to providing all facilities to Pakistan for increasing the trade and investment opportunities in both sides.

There is huge potential to enhance the bilateral and transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and in recent years both sides are negotiating the common agenda of peace prosperity and regional harmony.

The minister said through World Trade Organization Afghanistan wants to export to the South Asian market via Pakistan for connecting the regional economy and trade.

He said Afghanistan is ready to connect the regional countries with Central Asian States and that Pakistan and Afghanistan could play a major role through their geographical location.

Federal Secretary for Commerce Sualeh Ahmad Faruqi and Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal also highlighted the different issues of trade and mutual cooperation between both sides and also gave proposals to resolve these issues.