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Parliament endorses APTTA, SAARC Charter

Parliament endorses APTTA, SAARC Charter

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On
Jun 01, 2011 - 18:31

KABULinfo-icon(PANinfo-icon): Parliament endorsed on Wednesday a key transit trade agreement between Afghanistaninfo-icon and Pakistaninfo-icon and the charter of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARCinfo-icon).

The Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTAinfo-icon)that grants the landlocked country important trade concessions was signed in Kabul on October 28, 2010 between Pakistani Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and his Afghan counterpart, Anwarul Haq Ahadi.

After a series of meetings on its implementation, the landmark pact would take effect from June 12, the commerce and industry minister announced on Tuesday.

Parliament's International Affairs Commission presented the agreement to the lower house and a majority of lawmakers voted in favour of the pact that would enable Afghanistan to reduce transport costs and time.

A member of the commission, Aryan Yun, said the agreement, if implemented in letter and spirit, would help Afghan traders transport their goods to India through the Wagah border in Pakistan.

He said they were sure that Pakistanis were sincere in implementation of the accord, which could not be brought into effect earlier due to some problems.

A meeting between Afghan and Pakistani commerce officials discussed the agreement in Kabul on Tuesday. Ahadi told the meeting the reason behind non-implementation of APTTA was that Pakistan sought guarantees of prices of transit items.

The ATTPA replaces a 1965 agreement, which Afghanistan says does not reflect changes on the ground. Under that agreement, Afghans would export goods only via Pakistan's port city of Karachi.Ahadi said another reason was that Pakistan sought guarantees for Afghan trucks entering that country.

The house also approved Afghanistan's diplomatic ties with Bhutan, the Republic of Fiji and Montego, Jamaica and the country's inclusion in SAARC.

Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon Secretary Abdul Qadir Qalatwal said Afghanistan would maintain diplomatic relations with the countries without having diplomats there. Afghan diplomats in nearby countries would do the job.

He added it was in the interest of Afghanistan to have diplomatic links with every country. Afghanistan would benefit from being a SAARC member, he said, but did not elaborate.

MP Maulviinfo-icon Shahzad Shahid hoped SAARC membership would help Afghanistan transport commercial goods to member states without any hurdle. He said it would also help resolve problems of Afghan traders in Pakistan.

ma/mud

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