ICCI asks Afghanistan to facilitate Pakistan in trade with Central Asia

  • May 11, 2010
Pakistan has provided many facilities to importers of Afghanistan under the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) and it should reciprocate by extending same facilities to Pakistani traders for promoting trade with Central Asian Republics (CARs), which is a huge market for Pakistani products.

This was said by Zahid Maqbool, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) while chairing a meeting of businessmen at ICCI

He said that Afghanistan slaps many tariff and non tariff barriers on Pakistani exporters depriving them from enhancing exports of fruits, cement, pharmaceutical products, ready made garments, leather jackets to CARs. He called for removal of all these barriers to give a fair treatment to Pakistani businessmen.

He said that hurdles are also created for Pakistani importers who want to import steel aluminums, minerals, industrial raw materials, LPG, fresh and dry fruits etc. from CARs. He was of the view that reciprocal facilities to Pakistan from Afghanistan for trade with CARs could restore the past glory of Peshawar as the Gateway to Central Asia.

Businessmen said that Afghanistan should also cooperate with Pakistan in providing sea route facility to CARs for doing foreign trade. They said currently the CARs are doing bulk of their foreign trade through sea ports of Iran despite the disadvantage of distance of thousands of kilometres.

They said Bander Abbas seaport of Iran is at a distance of 3,800 kilometres from Uzbekistan, whereas Karachi seaport is 2,700 kilometres away. They said Pakistan can earn hefty foreign exchange by offering its sea ports to CARs, but cooperation of Afghanistan is key in extending this facility to these countries.

Zahid Maqbool said that Afghanistan should give preferential treatment to Pakistani products while importing different items under the transit trade agreement as Pakistan can provide high quality products at cheap rates.

He said that economy of Pakistan is suffering an annual losses of billions of dollars due to rising smuggling from Afghanistan under ATT and stressed upon both the governments to take concrete measures to discourage illegal trade.