Afghan Business Community Applauds Pakistan’s Unilateral Facilitation in Bilateral Trade

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The government of Pakistan is working effortlessly to ensure smooth trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan”. This was noted by the Director General Transit Trade Pakistan, Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed during the Focus Group Discussion on Pak-Afghan Trade & Transit held by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), as part of its Beyond Boundaries Pak-Afghan Regional Economic Connectivity initiative.

During interaction with the Pakistan government officials, the Afghan business stakeholders tabled concerns regarding existing challenges in bilateral and transit trade. The government officials acknowledged CRSS’s efforts in bringing relevant stakeholders from Afghanistan and holding such crucial discussions through the forum of Beyond Boundaries.

The Afghan delegates were given a tour of Karachi Port Terminal (KPT) Head Office, Karachi International Port Terminal (KIPT), and South Asia Pakistan Terminal (SAPT) to apprise them of Pakistan’s on-ground facilitation and mechanisms for trade and transit with Afghanistan and other countries. Mr. Khan Jan Alokozai, Co-Chairman, Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce, and Industry (PAJCCI) said that Pakistan has been playing a momentous role in bilateral and transit trade, especially under such unprecedented circumstances.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Zubair Motiwala, Chairman of Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PAJCCI) stated, “To achieve the trade potential and produce tangible results, we need to use a proactive & pragmatic approach toward ongoing economic challenges, especially in the context of bilateral trade quantum and relationship”. Motiwala further established that there is a serious need to revise our approach towards trade with Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics, focusing strongly on harnessing the trade cooperation potential of the region which is efficient and cost-effective for countries.

The female delegates from Afghanistan, Ms. Nahid Hakimi, and Ms. Taiba Mashal Vaizi thanked CRSS for including women in the process and recommended the Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan, to arrange virtual and physical meetings of Afghan businesswomen with their Pakistani counterparts for exchange of ideas and exploring opportunities of cooperation and partnerships. Ms. Vaizi said that Afghan businesswomen are in limbo at the moment as the market is not very open for them. “Giving opportunities of open markets or exhibitions to Afghan women would be an incredible step if materialized,” she said.

The Pakistan government officials ensured further facilitation on the issues discussed. The authorities at KIPT and SAPT also stated that they would take up the issues on cross stuffing and transshipment with the higher offices. CRSS will share the policy recommendations emanated from the discussion with the relevant officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan.