The Express Tribune | 27 October 2020
Pakistan eyes preferential trade with Afghanistan
by Saqib Virk
Pakistan would discuss a preferential trade agreement with Afghanistan, as the two neighbours would open talks on a new transit trade agreement, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said on Tuesday.
Addressing the concluding session of a two-day seminar titled ‘Pakistan Afghanistan Trade & Investment Forum’, Dawood said that the current Pakistan-Afghanistan transit trade agreement would expire next year, adding that this time a 10-year new transit trade deal would be signed.
The adviser told seminar that preferential trade agreement would come under discussion during his upcoming visit to Kabul in next month. He added that he would hold talks with open heart with the Afghan leadership.
“I will visit Afghanistan next month [where] Pak-Afghan transit trade and preferential trade agreement will also be discussed,” he said. “A preferential trade agreement will be negotiated which will be followed by a free-trade agreement with Afghanistan,” he added.
The adviser on commerce said that Afghanistan had provided a list of 30 items and Pakistan would give its list of products to Afghanistan soon. “Enhancing trade volume with Afghanistan is Pakistan’s objective and concrete steps will be taken in that regard,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani highlighted the importance of increased connectivity, trade linkages and better investment opportunities for regional development and economic prosperity.
“Peaceful neighbourhood is a vital component of Pakistan’s foreign policy,” Sanjrani said. “It is now time to turn our bilateral and economic linkages into a strategic partnership for betterment and prosperity of our people and the region as well,” he remarked.
He emphasized the need to raise current trade volume between the two countries to match immense economic cooperation potential. He added that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) offered another golden opportunity to join hands for wellbeing of the masses, especially youth.
Addressing the participants, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser said capitalising the potential of trade and investment between Pakistan and Afghanistan would bring regional prosperity and economic stability. He remarked that parliament-to-parliament contacts would ease the hurdles of traders and investors on both sides of the border.
“Both the countries are facing the scourge of extremism, terrorism and economic deprivations and only collaborative efforts by both partners would lessen the intensity of socio-economic issues faced by them,” he added.
The Senate chairman and the Speaker strongly condemned terrorist attack on a madrassa in Peshawar and resolved that such terrorist activities would not cause any dent in the friendship between of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
With input from APP