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    Economic cooperation agreements signed with Iran

    KABUL (PAN): Agreements on economic cooperation and facilitating trade links were signed between Afghanistan and Iran on Monday in Kabul on Monday.

    One of the accords was inked between Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance and the Iranian Ministry of Economic Affairs and the second between the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) and the Iranian Department of Technical and Economic Affairs.

    The deals were concluded on the second day of the Afghan-Iranian Joint Economic Commission meeting in Kabul. Afghanistan would set up road transport offices at Iran’s Chabahar port, said the deputy minister of finance.

    Dr. Mustafa Mastur told a joint press briefing with Irani officials the facility, located at a distance of 700 kilometers from Nimroz province, connected Afghanistan with other international ports through Oman River and Indian Ocean.

    Under an agreement signed eight years ago, Afghan traders were provided the opportunity to use the port. Additionally, Afghanistan was given 50 hectares of land for trading in an area near the port.

    Most of Afghan imports and exports are routed through Pakistan’s Karachi port. But the port’s remote location, more than 1,200km from the landlocked country, is causing Afghan traders multiple problems.

    The agreements would help address of transit trade and visa problems between Afghanistan and Iran, Mastur hoped.

    Iran’s Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Behruz Alisherzai said the agreements would solve the problems of traders from both sides and go a long way toward developing the Chabahar port.

    “Both sides should try to put in place customs facilities and boost bilateral trade volume,” he suggested. The trade volume between the neighbours rose from $52 million (2,567 million afs) in 2010 to $1 billion (49 billion afs) in 2011.  

    Iranian Ambassador Fida Hussain Maliki said both countries must work on giving entrepreneurs long-term visas. Iran would soon realise the goal, he promised, saying both should increase the number of political offices to facilitate traders.