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Pakistan-Afghanistan trade talks 2020: one step closer to more trade with Central-Asia?

Pakistan and Afghanistan are going to hold talks to revise their bilateral trade agreement, and a Preferential Trade Agreement starting today

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Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Khan announced that Pakistan and Afghanistan will initiate discussions on the revisions of a bilateral transit agreement between the two countries, and a Preferential Trade Agreement, today.

The talks that are to be held on the revision between the two countries’ dignitaries will start during the visit of Abdul Razzak Dawood, the Prime Minister’s Adviser of Commerce and Investment, to Afghanistan. Abdul Razzak Dawood is expected to visit Afghanistan from the 16th of November to the 18th, as per reports by ‘Daily Times.’

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Pakistan and Afghanistan signed the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) in 1965. This treaty had since then been revised in 2010. Now, both sides have expressed the need for amendments in the agreement.

The APTTA was redesigned in 2010 to allow Afghan exports through Pakistan to the Wagah border with India and Karachi and Gwadar’s seaport cities. Pakistan’s transit, in turn, is allowed to move products to all regions of Afghanistan.

The agreement also led to the formation of a joint chamber of commerce. In July 2012, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to extend the APTTA to Tajikistan, a first step in establishing a north-south trade corridor.

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A trade route between Central-Asia and Pakistan would be extremely beneficial to the economic outlook and the region’s political stability, as was expressed by Chairman CPEC Authority, Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa, in an interview with Dr. Moeed Pirzada for Global Village Space. In the interview, he had said that Pakistan seeks to extend the trade routes of CPEC into Afghanistan and hopes that it becomes a center of regional transit.

Pakistan’s trade route to Central-Asia through Afghanistan

The proposed agreement would allow Tajikistan to use Pakistan’s Gwadar and Karachi ports for its imports and exports. At the same time, Pakistan would enjoy trade with Tajikistan under terms similar to Afghanistan’s transit arrangement. Recently, a ministerial delegation from Tajikistan arrived in Pakistan to explore trade prospects in various sectors.

During his visit to Pakistan in November 2014, newly elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had highlighted Afghanistan’s potential to function as a land bridge between Pakistan and Central Asia and sought the same facility from Pakistan for trade with India.

“The Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment will have discussions with the Afghan side on starting negotiations on the revision of APTTA and PTA for giving a boost to bilateral trade,” the ambassador has told ‘Daily Times.’

The two sides will hold a meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA), coordinating the activities of the APTTA.

Trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan has increased substantially, from $0.83 billion in 2006 to $2.1 billion in 2013. Pakistan supplies the largest share of total Afghan imports.

Business leaders, members of chambers of commerce, and lawmakers from Afghanistan and Pakistan had attended a two-day seminar on Pakistan-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum 2020 in Islamabad last month. The seminar had been held to encourage innovation and cooperation in bilateral trade between the two countries.

 

GVS News Desk

 

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