Hurdles to trade accord cleared
KABUL (PAN): Hurdles to implementation of a landmark transit trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been removed and the pact is expected to take effect 10 days later, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anwarul Haq Ahadi made the announcement at a press conference in Kabul at the end of a three-day meeting between Pakistani and Afghan officials.
The meeting agreed on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) would go into effect on June 12.
Instead of providing cash guarantees to Pakistan, Afghan traders would insure customs duty on trade goods. The two countries would set up a joint fund. Twenty-five percent of transit vehicle costs will be deposited in the joint fund.
More details of the insurance and the joint fund would be worked out in future joint meetings, Ahadi said. Custom offices in the two countries will be provided with equipment to enable them to maintain uninterrupted contact as part of the agreement.
He said vehicles moving between the two countries should be laced with monitoring equipment.
Pakistani Commerce Secretary Zafar Mehmood expressed happiness over the removal of obstacles in the way of implementing the accord, which was signed in Kabul on October 28, 2010.
He hoped relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan were rooted in mutual trust and the new agreement would open a new chapter of cooperation in regional trade.
On Wednesday, Afghan Parliament endorsed the agreement that grants the landlocked country important trade concessions.
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