ISLAMABAD: Pakistan believes in the free flow of trade to Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics (CARs) across its borders, Trade and Investment Advisor Razak Dawood said in a consultative meeting with regional officials on Monday.
During his visit to Kabul in November, Dawood told the conference of his talks with the Afghan government, adding that negotiations with stakeholders had started to negotiate a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, he said that work was in the final stages of revising the Afghanistan Transit Trade Deal for Pakistan (APTTA). On December 28-30, a delegation from Afghanistan will visit Pakistan to address the PTA, APTTA and Joint Border Markets.
In January of next year, the government of Uzbekistan also invited Dawood to visit the country for the inaugural meeting of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Economy in Tashkent to discuss the prospects for a PTA between the two countries.
In addition, the Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral trade was addressed at length at the conference.
At the Pak-Afghan Trade and Investment Forum 2020, which reviewed the bilateral trade ties at the seventh meeting of the Executive Committee of the Pakistan Afghanistan Parliamentary Friendship Group, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Arbab Shahzad stressed the need to settle trade disputes between the two countries.
At the conference, an official from the Ministry of Commerce said that the trade dispute resolution process was working and that the specifics of the extension of the trade agreement with Afghanistan will also be addressed.
On the question of air connectivity, the meeting highlighted that the prices for PIA flights were comparatively high and would be lowered for Afghan nationals. An rise in the number of PIA flights to Afghanistan was also proposed by the forum.
Sadiq Khan, the Special Envoy for Afghanistan, said that fares must be uniform in compliance with international norms.
In addition, an official from the Ministry of Railway also briefed the committee on eight initiatives to promote trade between the two countries. He also reported that there are around 28 trains being used for the Pak-Afghan transit trade. He added that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor ML-1 will travel to Peshawar from Torkham.
An official from the Ministry of Port and Shipping said it was not necessary to spare a designated lane for Afghan Transit Trade, but cross stuffing will soon be permitted.