Business community demands visa-free entry to boost Pak-Afghan trade

PESHAWAR: Traders and exporters of Pakistan and Afghanistan have demanded the introduction of a visa-free entry regime for the business community to bolster trade operations, as well as strengthening linkages and effective collaboration and coordination between relevant departments of the two countries.
These views were expressed, during a joint meeting of Pak-Afghan traders, held under chairmanship of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Sherbaz Bilour here at the chamber house on Tuesday.
SCCI Senior Vice President Engineer Manzoor Elahi, former president Faiz Muhammad, ex-SVP Shahid Hussain, former vice presidents Malik Niaz Muhammad Awan, Abdullah Yousafzai, Abdul Jalil Jan, executive committee members Mujeebur Rehman, Zahoor Khan, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Ihsanullah, Aftab Iqbal, Afghan Consul General in Peshawar Najeebullah Ahmadzai, PAJCCI Afghanistan chapter President Khan Jan Alkozai, Afghan Trade Attaché Fawad Arash, as well as a large number of traders, exporters and importers from the two countries were present in the meeting.
The participants said that they had identified bottlenecks that were hampering bilateral and transit trade, including complicated regulations and procedures, strict policies and cumbersome goods’ clearing processes, urging that Islamabad and Kabul review their policies to further improve mutual trade and economic relations.
They also proposed the launch of a joint bonded carriers system between Pakistan and Afghanistan to address the issues of transport.
Speaking on the occasion, Bilour informed that the customs authorities had recently issued a notification regarding reduction in values of more than 51 Afghan origin imported items, due to which, a noticeable increase in mutual trade and transit trade was witnessed.
He added the SCCI was making efforts to decrease customs values on the rest of the Afghan imported items.
He also proposed the introduction of a joint bonded carriers system to ease difficulties of Pak-Afghan transporters.
Moreover, speakers including Faiz Muhammad Faizi, Abdul Jalil Jan, Mujeebur Rehman, Zahoor Khan, Muhammad Aurangzeb, and Aftab Iqbal pointed out impediments in way of Pak-Afghan trade and suggested a number of proposals to remove them.
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