‘Pak-Afghan bilateral trade can increase up to $8-$10 billion annually’

Pak-Afghan trade could further be enhanced if either side removed the hurdles in the smooth flow of trade with mutual consultations.

Pak-Afghan

On Sunday, the President of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation-Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Iftikhar Ali Malik, said that Pak-Afghan bilateral trade has a vast potential of $8-$10 billion annually, which can be achieved easily.

Speaking to a delegation of exporters, the SAARC-CCI President said, “Pak-Afghan trade could further be enhanced if either side removed the hurdles in the smooth flow of trade with mutual consultations.”

Malik lamented that the past Afghanistan government overlooked Pakistan without any solid reason and had preferred India.

With the new Taliban regime in Afghanistan, he stated joint ventures in multiple sectors of the economy would revive the confidence of local and foreign investors.

Soon after taking control, the Taliban reduced the domestic taxes on 153 products, including food items, to boost the confidence of Afghan citizens.

He said it’s a good indication that the Taliban administration has ended the tax of Afghani 40,000 per Pak-truck entering Afghanistan. They also made easy clearance to boost trade between the two Muslim countries, besides the threat of corruption at all border crossing points.

Pak-Afghan

Iftikhar Ali Malik added that Pak-Afghan exports fell by 5.5 percent from $790m to $746m during the last nine months, which would now rapidly increase because trade with India has been halted.

Malik said poor trade infrastructure at border crossing points was also to be upgraded on current and scientific lines to guarantee an uninterrupted flow of trade volume.

He said Afghanistan was a good market for Pakistani products, and legal trade would also help eradicate the menace of smuggling, which had since been hitting the Pakistan economy hard.

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

Malik said Afghanistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) President, Muhammad Younas Khan Momand, had also been guaranteed full cooperation by the SAARC-CCI.

Pak-Afghan Trade and Economic Relations

Pakistan and Afghanistan have substantial trade linkages. Pakistan is Afghanistan’s largest trade partner. According to the Afghanistan Ministry of Finance, during Afghanistan’s Fiscal Year 2018, Pak- Afghan bilateral trade remained the highest and reached US$ 1,437m. 

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has reported an increase of 18.33% in Pakistan’s export to Afghanistan in the year 2017-18 (July-June) over the corresponding preceding year (2016-17), i.e., from US$1,171m to US$ 1,476m.

The two states have the following institutional mechanisms in the domain of trade and economic cooperation:

a). Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Cooperation Authority (APTTCA)

b). Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Business Council

c). Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry

d). Afghan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS)

e). Joint Economic Commission (JEC)

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