US lauds transit trade pact implementation
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Obama administration has welcomed implementation of the transit trade agreement announced by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari.
"This step is a concrete demonstration of the common shared vision of development, prosperity and peace the two presidents share, and it will make a significant contribution to regional stability," a State Department spokesman said on Monday.
Mark Toner told reporters at his daily news conference full implementation of the agreement would provide an economic boost for both countries by reducing the cost and delays involved in transport from Afghanistan to world markets.
He said the US remained committed to assisting Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as their neighbours in expanding regional trade ties.
The Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) was concluded after years of effort and replaces an outdated agreement dating from 1965. It is a major breakthrough, demonstrating strong cooperation between the two countries.
In order to implement the deal, both countries demonstrated their continuing commitment to working together to overcome technical and political obstacles, he said.
Toner hoped the agreement would help the neighbours expand their reach to world markets and improve the competitiveness of Afghanistan's exports. "It will also help reduce cross-border smuggling, increase government revenues from legitimate trade, and have a multiplier effect as supporting services grow."
He continued the United States and other partners supported APTTA's role in strengthening regional cooperation and building prosperity. "We believe other agreements and concrete projects, along with APTTA, will help reinforce and create links for trade, investment, and transport of goods, ideas and people from Almaty to the Indian Ocean."
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