Pakistan, Afghanistan to hold trade talks in Kabul as part of normalisation efforts – World

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A Pakistani commerce ministry delegation is scheduled to arrive in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday to discover methods to take away obstacles in transit and bilateral trade, mentioned an Afghan official.

Abdul Salam Jawad, spokesman for the Afghan Commerce Ministry, confirmed to Dawn.com at this time that Minister of Industry and Commerce Nooruddin Azizi will lead the Afghan delegation.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch confirmed that the Pakistani delegation, headed by Secretary of Commerce Khurram Agha, will undertake the 2-day go to.

“Pakistan stays dedicated to selling trade and people-to-people ties with Afghanistan,” Baloch added.

Other delegates from Pakistan embrace Joint Secretary (Ministry of Commerce), Maria Qazi, Additional Secretary Commerce Dr Wajid Ali Khan, Director General Transit Trade and Additional Secretary of Interior Khushal Khan.

Discussions might be held on total bilateral and transit trade, mentioned the Afghan Commerce Ministry’s spokesman.

“We will take up the problem of a ban on a number of transit objects. Pakistan has banned the import of sure objects beneath the transit settlement. Around 50 per cent of transit trade has been decreased due to this ban and shifted to Iran,” Jawad mentioned.

The talks might be held amid efforts by each side to normalise relations following Pakistani airstrikes in two Afghan provinces on March 18.

Afghan cost d’affaires Sardar Shokaib Ahmad rushed to Kabul to temporary officers about his conferences in Islamabad.

Shokaib met performing Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and briefed him relating to latest developments in the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, deputy international ministry spokesman Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takkal mentioned.

“During the assembly, Mawlawi Sardar Ahmed Shakib, performing head of the Afghan embassy in Pakistan, shared the report of his latest conferences with the Pakistani officers with FM Muttaqi, and held in-depth dialogue thereof,” Takkal wrote on X.

“Following briefing, FM Muttaqi gave obligatory directions to the Acting Head of the Afghan embassy in Islamabad with regards to the present state of affairs and relations of the 2 international locations,” he mentioned.

The Afghan embassy earlier mentioned that Shakib met Pakistan’s Special envoy for Afghanistan Asif Durrani on March 22 and “addressed latest challenges between the 2 international locations, the revitalisation of political, business, people-to-people and different elements of bilateral relations.”

On March 11, Afghan Minister of Industry and Commerce Nooruddin Azizi held a web based assembly with Secretary Pakistan Commerce Ministry Khurram Agha and explored methods to set up nearer relations, clear up challenges and forestall the incidence of bottlenecks in trade and transit between the 2 international locations, the ministry wrote on X.

The Afghan Commerce Ministry mentioned the 2 sides spoke in regards to the progress made over the past two years. They mentioned choices for rising the amount of bilateral trade, fixing issues and eradicating trade and transit limitations, offering extra amenities, establishing shut relations between the private and non-private sectors of the 2 international locations, and rising regional cooperation.

The Afghan minister additionally invited Khurram Agha to go to Kabul with a delegation to hold additional discussions on bilateral trade points. Pakistani and Afghan enterprise leaders count on the talks in Kabul might be helpful.

Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) Khan Jan Alkozai mentioned that the brand new authorities in Pakistan will tackle the considerations of Afghan importers. Alkozai talked about a ten per cent hike in import responsibility on Afghan transit trade launched in October final 12 months. He additionally complained about including extra transit objects to the adverse checklist.

“More issues for Afghan importers have been created in the course of the caretaker authorities in Pakistan. Pakistan and the Islamic Emirate ought to pave the best way to normalise bilateral and transit trade,” Alkozai informed Dawn.com from Kabul at this time.

He mentioned transit by way of Pakistan has considerably decreased and Afghan importers moved their enterprise to ports in Iran.

Pakistani merchants additionally urge officers to facilitate transit and bilateral trade with Afghanistan as it’s a win-win state of affairs for each.

Coordinator PAJCCI Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi recalled that in October the Ministry of Commerce, by issuing SRO 1380, imposed a ban on 14 objects of Afghan Transit Trade which in a bigger context represent round 212 objects, moreover the enforcement of 100 per cent financial institution assure.

“The cargo items have been already lined beneath insurance coverage assure and all the products have been going safely to Afghanistan for the final 13 years,” Sarhadi informed Dawn.com at this time. He demanded revoking the 100 per cent financial institution assure and the revival of the outdated insurance coverage assure system.

Sarhadi recalled that each international locations had set the goal of rising trade quantity to $5 billion, nevertheless it had decreased to $1.4 billion.

Pakistani and Afghan merchants have lengthy been insisting on separating trade from political points, nevertheless, no consideration has ever been paid to this demand.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif warned this week that Islamabad may block the hall it supplied to Afghanistan for trade with India. The defence minister asserted that Pakistan had the fitting to cease facilitating Kabul if it failed to curb anti-Pakistan terrorists working on Afghan soil.

“If Afghanistan treats us like an enemy, then why ought to we give them a trade hall?” he requested in an interview with Voice of America

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