Kabul-Islamabad talks focus on addressing trade irritants
The meeting, which was due in August, was previously postponed due to rising tensions between the neighbours.
An official at the Ministry of Finance said the two sides conferred on taxation, trade facilitation, motorways, highways and railways projects.
More scholarships for Afghan students in Pakistani colleges, transportation, energy projects and potential joint ventures in other sectors were also on the agenda.
At the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting, Finance Minister Eklil Ahmad Hakimi is leading a 30-member Afghan delegation.
His Pakistani counterpart Ishaq Dar is heading the Pakistani delegation. Another official said the visiting team would push for implementation of transit trade deal.
Kabul renewed its longstanding demand to let Afghan trucks use the Pakistani land route for trade with India. The Afghan trucks are allowed to unload goods at the Wagah border.
Addressing the 10th session of JEC,Ishaq Dar reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to boost its trade volume with Afghanistan to $ 5 billion till 2017.
The present bilateral trade volume stands at nearly 2.5 billion dollars. The two sides have agreed to increase it to 5 billion dollars by 2017.
Along with other delegates from Afghanistan, Hakimi attended the meeting and discussed different ways of enhancing bilateral trade.
Dar said Pakistan desired stable and cooperative ties with Afghanistan. A peaceful, prosperous and progressive Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s best interest, he added.
He supported the early finalisation of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and said Pakistan was awaiting a response from Afghanistan.
Pakistan is implementing different development projects in Afghanistan, including the Torkham-Jalalabad highway,which will be completed by December next year.
A 1000-room hostel at the Rehman Baba School is scheduled to be built in the middle of next year with the financial assistance of Pakistan, which awarded scholarships to over 2,000 Afghan students.
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