A five-member delegation of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) met Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in Kabul to discuss matters of mutual interest, besides exploring ways of enhancing existing trade and investment ties between the two countries.
Ghani, while praising the effective role being played by the chamber, advised the delegation to expedite work on various pacts and assurances given by Pakistani authorities during his visit to Pakistan in November 2014.
He attached great importance to involving credible partners in Afghanistan’s economic activities and said the expansion of legal trade between the two countries will result in prosperity for both the nations.
“The government of Afghanistan is determined to ensure all facilities for domestic and international investors in Afghanistan,” he said, while hoping that the required facilities for Afghan traders in other countries would also be provided.
He declared that smuggling of goods was not acceptable and Afghanistan would take serious measures to dismantle this network with the cooperation of other countries.
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, on the occasion, underlined the role of the Pakistan-Afghanistan chamber, saying the body had successfully completed three years in office and had succeeded in achieving many milestones over time.
It also brought business communities of the two countries closer by clearing the way for enhanced interaction, he said.
Vohra suggested that the amount of $100 charged by Afghan customs authorities on each container entering Afghanistan from Pakistan be waived and the condition to submit 110% transit guarantee on Pakistani shipments destined to Central Asian countries via Afghanistan must also be withdrawn.
“Although the guarantee is refunded on the return of trucks but it takes too long.”
He recalled that a couple of years ago during former president Hamid Karzai’s government, LPG transit from Central Asia to Pakistan was banned by the ministers.
As Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have been producing excess amount of LPG, it would be beneficial for Pakistan if the ban was lifted by the present Afghan government. This would help Pakistan in dealing with the ongoing energy crisis, he added. The KCCI president, while underscoring the need of having good relations with Afghanistan, said that Pakistan places much value on Afghanistan than any other neighbouring countries. “We want terrorism, poverty and anarchy eliminated so that the two nations could live in peace.”
The delegation also met Dr Omar Zakhilwal, Minister of Finance, Afghanistan. He said that the Afghan government was well aware of the issue of Pakistan’s access to Central Asian states and the government was focusing on transit fee for Central Asia.
Furthermore, the delegation called on Syed Abrar Hussain, Ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan, to discuss various issues.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2015.
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It appears that this President of Afghanistan means busines. He talks more about policies while Karzai was always ranting like our politicians.