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    Afghan-Pakistan chamber of commerce set up

    KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan and Pakistan have formed a joint chamber of commerce with a view to promoting trade links between the neighbours, an official said on Monday.

    A month after the signing of a long-awaited transit trade deal, the two countries agreed on establishing the joint chamber at a meeting in Karachi from November 25-27.

    Azrakhsh Hafizi, head of the foreign relations committee of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said the meeting discussed traders' problems and coordination with the authorities concerned.

    He told a news conference in Kabul the joint chamber would hold its maiden meeting on its operational plan in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, in January 2011.

    Characterising the formation of the chamber as a positive step towards expanding Afghanistan-Pakistan trade relations, he hoped the body would play a significant role in resolving traders' problems.

    Also discussed at the meeting was the issue of Afghan imports stuck at the Karachi port over the last four months, according to Hafizi, who said Pakistani officials had promised to simplify the process of clearing Afghan consignments.

    With the simplification of the procedure, he said goods would be transported to Afghanistan sooner than in the past. About 4,000 containers presently stuck at the Karachi port would be sent shortly to Kabul, he assured.