Khur­ram vows to en­hance trade vol­ume with Afghanistan

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL - Staff Reporter

Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Com­merce Khur­ram Dast­gir Khan has said that Pak­istan was work­ing on the prospects to en­hance trade vol­ume with Afghanistan and bi­lat­eral trade would be dou­bled in com­ing years.The govern­ment had vi­sion for share pros­per­ity, through re­gion­al­con­nec­tiv­ity and eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion for main­tain­ing peace and pros­per­ity in the re­gion, he said while ad­dress­ing a roundtable on "Pak­istan -Afghanistan Co­op­er­a­tion on Trade" or­ga­nized by In­sti­tute of Strate­gic Stud­ies Is­lam­abad (ISSI) here on Mon­day. He said the govern­ment was quan­ti­fy­ing the mag­ni­tude of op­por­tu­ni­ties and re­mov­ing the in­fras­truc­tural and pro­ce­dural hur­dles in the way of trade and in­vest­ment in Afghanistan.

The Min­is­ter said re­gional con­nec­tivi- ty was the key to fast eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment like Euro­pean Union (EU) coun­tries.The govern­ment had fo­cused on en­hanc­ing trans-re­gional trade and that was also the vi­sion of the eco­nomic and trade poli­cies of Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif's govern­ment, he said."We are re­view­ing the Afghanistan Pak­istan Tran­sit Trade Agree­ment (APTTA) and open­ing of three bor­der cross­ings for trade are be­ingdis­cussed," Khur­ram said. The min­is­ter said the two sides had de­cided to or­ga­nize a pi­lot run of Afghan trucks from Torkham and Chaman up to Wa­gah car­ry­ing Afghan ex­ports to In­dia and Pak­istani trucks from Torkham and Chaman car­ry­ing Pak­istani ex­ports to Ta­jik­istan's bor­der.

He said that Afghan trucks would be al­lowed to carry Pak­istani ex­ports to Afghanistan on their re­turn jour­ney. Par­ti­larly, Pak­istani trucks will be al­lowed to carry Tajik and Cen­tral Asian ex­port cargo on their re­turn jour­ney to Pak­istan, he added. "We are also tak­ing bold steps to re­duce scan­ning at bor­der

ports at the re­quest of the Afghan govern­ment," Khur­ram said. Last year, the scan­ning of trade ma­te­rial was re­duced from 100 per cent to 20 per cent to help fa­cil­i­tate mat­ters and put trade on a fast track, he said. The ma­jor break­through is that Pak­istan, Afghanistan, Kyr­gyzs­tan and Ta­jik­istan had signed an agree­ment for en­ergy tran­sit route for KASA 1000project, he said. The Min­is­ter said that un­der the agree­ment, 1300 megawatts of elec­tric­ity would be trans­mit­ted from Kyr­gyzs­tan into Pak­istan through Ta­jik­istan and Afghanistan. Pak­istan would be trans­mit­ted 1000 megawatts while Afghanistan would get 300 megawatts.An­other break­through had been made with re­gard to Turk­menistan, Afghanistan, Pak­istan, In­dia (TAPI) and the pro­ject was likely to be com­pleted in 2019. Pak­istan was all set to emerge as a leader in re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity and re­gional free trade agree­ment was also the vi­sion of Prime Min­is­ter Muham­mad Nawaz Sharif.

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