Pakistan, Afghanistan agree to resolve issues hampering bilateral trade

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ISLAMABAD: A Technical Working Group (TWG) of Afghan officials is currently in Pakistan to negotiate on issues that are hampering bilateral and transit trade between the two countries.

The group on Friday held a detailed meeting with Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood where both sides exchanged their concerns and proposals to enhance bilateral trade volume.

The PM’s adviser highlighted that Pakistan and Afghanistan share long historical, political and economic ties. However, the volume of current bilateral trade is way below the available potential, he added.

Dawood called for the removal of trade barriers through mutual consultations, saying that both countries need to take concrete steps in this regard so that the real trade potential could be realised.

The adviser informed the TWG that Pakistan’s industry is badly impacted by the pilferage of goods through transit trade. He asked the Afghan side to take necessary policy measures to address this grave issue.

Dawood also urged the Afghan side to finalise and share the amended draft of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).

The Afghan side agreed to increase the bilateral trade volume by addressing all the issues that are negatively affecting trade between both the countries. 

The delegation head proposed the constitution of a joint commission for redressal of all the issues, including transit trade.

He maintained that the leadership of both countries has the required political will, which needs to be translated into cooperation on a technical level. He called for the development of understanding between the customs authorities of both sides.

The PM’s adviser stressed the need to explore opportunities to maximize mutual trade volume and move forward for trade cooperation via communication and custom cooperation.

He said the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement should be implemented in true letter and spirit, adding that Pakistan can be instrumental in ensuring food security of Afghanistan.

In this regard, the adviser would visit Kabul next month to finalise the understanding of different trade and economic issues.

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