Commerce adviser says boosting trade between two countries will maximise economic integration
ISLAMABAD:Boost in trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan would maximise chances of regional economic integration and enhance the connectivity among neighboring countries, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce on Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Monday.
In a 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 eighth round of the three-day Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).
He said that smooth transit trade for enhancing connectivity with Central Asian States, connecting regional trade with Gwadar Port, review finalisation of APTTA and Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Afghanistan in February 2021 are the main agenda of trade negotiation between both neighbouring countries.
“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.”
Dawood said that Pakistan has agreed to provide opportunities to allow Afghanistan trade items through Gwadar and Bin Qasim ports as a good gesture to enhance the economic ties. He informed that PTA between Pakistan and Afghanistan would be finalised by the end of January next year.
The adviser hoped that the review agreement of APTTA would also be signed in the coming months of 2021 and investment-related matters would be resolved in the recent bilateral dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said that in three days negotiation between the two countries, both sides would also discuss excess of Indian trade items through mutual borders.
The adviser also informed that due to the coronavirus and other internal issues Pak- Afghan trade was on halt but now after the normalisation, bilateral and transit trade was expected to achieve previous gains.
He said that both sides would discuss establishing economic zones to enhance bilateral investment and trade opportunities. He said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Imran Khan were committed to increasing the bilateral trade and investment relation between both sides. He said that in the previous seven rounds of negotiation, actions were agreed in a comprehensive document ‘A Shared Vision between Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Support Peace and Stability’ in both countries in wider regional interest.
Dawood hoped that through the recent rounds of dialogue, both sides would resolve all the transit and bilateral trade issues along with issues of other informal trade. He said that during the recent Covid- 19 pandemic, trade between both sides has been affected and hoped that the trade volume would be revived soon in the coming months.
The adviser said that now both sides were reviewing use of technology for smooth functioning of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said that in the coming month, he would lead his 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.
Also speaking on the occasion, Afghanistan Minister for Commerce and Industry Nisar Ahmad Faizi Ghoryani said the government of Afghanistan under the leadership of President Ashraf Ghani was committed to providing all facilities to Pakistan for increasing the trade and investment opportunities on both sides.
He said there was 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 that through the World Trade Organization (WTO), Afghanistan wants to export to the South Asian market via Pakistan for connecting the regional economy and trade.
He said that Afghanistan was ready to connect the regional countries with Central Asian States and that Pakistan and Afghanistan could play a major role through their geographical location.