Land ports soon at Torkham, Chaman, Wagah borders

Islamabad—Minister for Commerce, Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan on Tuesday informed the Senate that land ports were being set up at Torkham, Chaman and Wagah borders this year besides warehouses to enhance trade volume.
Replying to various questions during, the minister said that the volume of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan at present was at $ 2.28 billion in 2014-15. Pakistan exported US$ 1.962 million worth of goods while imports from Afghanistan were at the level of US$ 323 million in 2014-15, he added.
To a supplementary question, he said that commercial transit trade between the two countries increased and stood at $ 2.25 billion during the last fiscal year despite reservations of shifting the trade towards Iran.
He said that due to recent escalations, Torkham border was closed; as a result business and commercial activities remained suspended. Hundreds of trucks and trailers loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables were stranded on both sides of the border due to the closure of the Pak-Afghan Highway, he added.
Minister said necessary measures to enhance trade with Afghanistan were being taken. In this regard both Pakistan and Afghanistan has agreed in a meeting of Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) that the provisions of the APTTA-2010 shall be revised and amended appropriately with a view to further facilitating the transit trade.
Khurram said Pakistan-Afghanistan PTA Pakistan has proposed to initiate negotiations on Preferential Trade Agreement- (PTA) with Afghanistan. In this regard, a draft text of the proposed PTA has also been shared with Afghan. side through diplomatic channels. However, response from Afghan side was awaited, he added.
He said Pak-Afghan Joint Business Council. Joint Business Council comprising leading businessmen from both sides has been established to increase business to business interaction. To a question, the minister said Afghanistan has also announced to issued one year multiple visas to Pakistani businessmen on the request of Pakistan government.
To another question, the minister said that the exports of textile clothing group have decreased by 7.34 per cent during the fiscal year 2015-16 (June-May) as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Within the textile group, the exports of textiles have decreased by 13.2 per cent whereas exports of clothing have in-creased by 1.3 per cent, he added.—APP

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