Pak, Afghan have up to $10b bilateral trade potential: Malik

Staff Reporter

South Asian Association for Re-gional Cooperation-Chamber of Com-merce and Industry (SAARC-CCI) Presi-dent Iftikhar Ali Malik said on Sunday that Pak-Afghan bilateral trade has a vast po-tential of US $8 billion to $10 billion annu-ally, which can be achieved easily.

Talking to a delegation of exporters led by Ms Ayesha Shafique here in his office, he added that Pak-Afghan trade could further be enhanced if the hur-dles in smooth flow of trade were removed by either sides with mutual consultations.

Malik lamented that past Afghanistan gov-ernment had been ignoring Pakistan with-out having any solid reason and was inclined towards India.

With the new Taliban government in Af-ghanistan, he said joint ventures in various sectors of economy would restore confi-dence of local and foreign investors.

Soon after taking control, the Taliban lowered the domestic taxes on 153 products in-cluding food items to boost the morale of Afghan people.

He said it was a good omen that Taliban regime also abolished tax of Afghani 40,000 per Pak-truck enter-ing Afghanistan and also made
easy clearance to boost trade between two Muslim states besides, stamping out menace of corruption at all boarder cross-ing points.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said Pak-export to Af-ghanistan fell 5.5 percent from US $790 million to $746 million during the last nine months of previous fiscal year, which would now shoot up because trade with India was so far banned.

He said number of scanners at the Torkham border needed to be doubled to expedite goods handling.

He said poor trade infrastructure at border crossing points were also to be upgraded on modern and scientific lines to ensure uninterrupted flow of trade volume.

Malik said Afghanistan was good market for Pakistani products and legal trade would also help to eliminate the menace of smuggling, which had since been hitting Pak economy hard.

SAARC-CCI President said that Pakistan could capture whole of Afghan markets provided government announce package of special incentives for exporters to compete with neighbouring countries.

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