Business community concerned over diminishing Pak-Afghan trade

Staff Reporter

Peshawar

The Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) has expressed serious concern over the fast declining Pak-Afghan Trade which bit said was at the record lowest owing to political hostilities.
“The mutual trade has dropped from 2.6 billion to just $1.6 billion annually which is a ringing alarm bells for the business community of the neighboring countries”.
Director, Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Zia ul Haq Sarhadi observed. He urged the two countries not to mix trade and political issues as it was damaging the mutual trade.
Zia ul Haq Sarhadi, who is also president of Frontier Customs Agents Group Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that the trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan can be enhanced to $7.5 billion annually if the two governments removed hurdles in the trade at different levels.
Sarhadi said the trade volume was further shrinking day by the day, adding India had established a second areal corridor with Afghanistan and it imported 1,550 tonnes of fresh and dry fruits, handmade carpets and herbal to India.
The director PAJCCI said that mutual trade between India and Afghanistan reached $600 million, adding it would be enhanced to one billion dollars this year which was alarming for Pakistan.
He demanded review of the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement, saying the agreement had become obsolete and needed rectification.
He also called for adopting steps like relaxing the customs rules, facilitating the transportation of goods and modify the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement to enhance trade between the two countries.
Sarhadi lamented that though the mutual trade had recorded an increase of 65 percent and the trade volume had crossed the figure of $2.5 billion in 2014-15 but factors like hostility between Pakistan and Afghanistan, unfavorable conditions and shifting of a huge portion of this trade to Chabahar Port in Iran contributed to the fast decline in trade between the two states, he added.

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