Pakistan allows Afghan trucks up to Wagah border
KABUL (Pajhwok): Pakistan’s Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Islamabad would construct state of the art land ports at Torkham and Chaman border to facilitate movement of goods and bilateral trade with Afghanistan.
Inaugurating “Made in Pakistan” exhibition organized by Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industries here in Kabul on Wednesday, the minister said his country was seriously working on infrastructure development and road connectivity with Afghanistan which would help promote economic integration between the two countries.
He reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to intensify bilateral cooperation with Afghanistan in the areas of trade, culture and defense, a statement released by the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul quoted the minister as saying.
The government of Pakistan, he said under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was keen to enhance trade relations with Afghanistan.
The prime minister was encouraging Pakistani investors to invest in Afghanistan which would bring economic prosperity to both countries. The minister stated that Pak-Afghan Chambers of Commerce and Industries needed to take joint ventures by organizing such exhibitions in central Asian as well as other countries.
He offered his ministry’s all out support to Afghan traders to facilitate them in organizing such exhibition in major cities of Pakistan. He informed a separate Desk, for the facilitation of Afghan and Central Asian traders, had been set up in the Ministry of Commerce for Afghanistan and Central Region countries to resolve disputes related to trade.
The statement said that Khurram Dastgir khan, in his meeting with President Ashraf Ghani underscored that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif attaches great significance to Pakistan’s economic and trade ties with Afghanistan.
Dastgir apprised that since the visit of President Ghani to Islamabad, Pakistan has implemented the following main decisions to facilitate transit trade, allowing system based partial shipment of Afghan transit goods instead of manual processing, reduction in scanning of Afghan transit cargo from 100% to 20%.
Afghan trucks have been allowed to carry goods up to Wagah and on their way back, they can carry Pakistani goods for exports to Afghanistan, he said, adding that Pakistan Railways would carry 400 containers of Afghan transit cargo to Torkham and Chaman per week which shall be made operational later this year.
During his meeting with the Afghan President, the Minister for Commerce sought implementation of the following steps by the Afghan government.
He urged removal of financial guarantees on Pakistani goods in transit to Central Asia which are being charged at 110% of the customs duty.
The removal of tonnage fee at rate of $100 per 25 ton on goods which are in transit to Central Asia, expedite signing of a bilateral treaty to avoid double taxation that would facilitate investment in both countries.
He also stressed for issuance of Afghan multiple entry visas for Pakistan businessmen and skilled workers, lift of ban on transit of LPG via Afghanistan to Pakistan and initiation of talks on Preferential Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, providing enhanced market access to Afghan goods in Pakistani market and addressing the issue of smuggling.
The Afghan president promised multiple entry visas for businessmen on reciprocal basis and ensured to address other issues at the earliest.
The Minister reiterated that economic cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan has gained momentum during the recent months with enhanced dialogue, high level visits and confidence building measures taken by the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Afghan Acting Minister of Commerce Muzammil Shinwari, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Syed Abrar Hussain, President of Pak-Afghan’s Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Khan Jan Alkozay, former President of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Dr. Shumail Daud Arian, and organizer of the exhibition, Khurshid Barlas also spoke the occasion.
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