High-level Afghan delegation visits Pakistan to improve bilateral trade 

ISLAMABAD: A high-ranking ministerial delegation from Afghanistan, led by Deputy Minister for Commerce H E Kamila Sidiqi had met with Commerce Secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha and officials of the ministry at the Ministry of Commerce on 8 May 2018.

Secretary, National Food Security and Research Fazal Abbas Maken, and officials of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Foreign Office (FO) were also present during the meeting.

The Afghan delegation also included Deputy Minister for Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock Hamdullah Hamdard, Director General, International Trade, Ministry of Commerce Mir Saeed Saeedy, Head of Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khan Jan Alakozai, Deputy Director, Income, Ministry of Finance Najibullah Wardak, Deputy Director, First Political Department Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Shakir Qarar, Cotton Specialist, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Edrees Raouf, and embassy officials.

During the meeting, both sides expressed the desire to enhance trade relations between the two countries by overcoming existing challenges. The discussion largely hinged on the SPS/Quarantine certification and removal of regulatory duties on selected items like fresh fruits and vegetables, dry fruit, etc. to facilitate Afghanistan’s exports to Pakistan as announced by the Prime Minister of Pakistan during his recent visit to Afghanistan.

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The deployment of the Department of Plant Protection personnel on various border crossings was also discussed and the Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research informed the Afghan side that the personnel have been deployed at Chaman and Torkham initially and other border crossings will also be facilitated in due course.

It was agreed that the institutional mechanism between both the countries needs to be strengthened and the holding of much awaited 7th Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority Meeting by the Afghan side was the need of the hour.

It was resolved that all out efforts would be made to remove impediments hampering bilateral and transit trade. The two sides will increase interaction at technical and policy levels for the prompt resolution of this issue from time to time. The Afghan delegation thanked the Pakistani government for their hospitality and for accommodating concerns of Afghan traders and farmers.

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