Afghanistan 3rd largest importer of Pakistani products
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Despite strained relations between the neighbours, Afghanistan has become the third largest importer of Pakistani products, a media report said on Wednesday.
Bilateral tensions notwithstanding, the landlocked country’s imports from Pakistan stood at $1.69 billion in 2014-15, Dawn reported. In import terms, only the US and China were ahead of Afghanistan.
Although its war-battered economy remains fragile, Afghanistan’s imports from Pakistan increased sharply over the last three years, the newspaper reported. Its exports to Pakistan were limited to $37 million during the year.
“Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan were more than its exports to South-east Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, which collectively stood at $1.298bn while imports were at $6.795bn in 2015,” the report added.
Independent economists believe the trade volume between Afghanistan and Pakistan would significantly soar if their political relations are normalised, confidence-building measures stepped up and business barriers dismantled.
“Without doubt, there is enormous trade potential between the two countries. If unlocked, this potential will benefit both sides and help remove Kabul-Islamabad misunderstandings,” remarked Peshawar-based exporter Bilal Afzal.
He alleged demands for bribes by customs and police officials on both sides of the border were one major impediment to enhanced bilateral trade links. Afzal urged the authorities to simplify rules of business to boost cooperation with Afghanistan.
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