Pak – Afghan PTA to be finalized next month: Razak Dawood

Pak – Afghan PTA to be finalized next month: Razak Dawood

ISLAMABAD: A preferential trade agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Afghanistan will be finalized by end of next month, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce on Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood said on Monday.

While addressing the opening session of 8th round of three-day Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), the adviser said PTA between Pakistan and Afghanistan would be finalized by the end of January next.

He said that smooth transit trade for enhancing the connectivity with Central Asian States, Connecting regional trade with Gwadar Port, review finalization of APTTA and Preferential Trade Agreement with Afghanistan in coming February, 2021 is the main agenda of trade negotiation between both neighboring countries.

The advisor said: “We have already allowed Afghanistan to use Gwadar for their transit trade as the same was demanded by the Central Asian States to connect them with Gwadar port in near future.”

He said Pakistan has agreed to provide opportunities to Afghanistan trade items through Gwadar and Bin Qasim Ports in a good gesture to enhance the economic ties.

The Adviser hoped that the review agreement of APTTA would also be signed in coming months of 2021 and investment-related matters would be resolved in the recent bilateral dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In recent trade dialogue, Pakistan and Afghanistan were mainly focusing on transit, bilateral and informal trade issues through the agenda of shared prosperity and peace, the Advisor said while addressing the opening session of 8th round of three-day Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) with Afghanistan’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, Nisar Ahmad Faizi Ghoryani was also present in the meeting.

He said in three days’ negotiation between the two countries, both sides would also discuss excess of Indian trade items through mutual borders.

The Adviser also informed that due to Corona and other internal issues Pak- Afghan trade was on halt but now after the normalization, bilateral and transit trade was expected to achieve previous gains.

He said both sides would discuss to establish Economic Zones to enhance the bilateral investment and the trade opportunities.

He said the Afghan President Ashraff Ghani and Prime Minister Imran Khan were encouraged to increase the bilateral trade and investment relation between both sides.

He said in previous seven rounds of negotiation, actions were agreed in a comprehensive document “A Shared Vision between Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Support Peace and Stability” in both countries in wider regional interest.

Razak Dawood said both the countries agreed to keep the shared vision, its commitments, and previous commitments under regular review, to ensure measurable, clear and irreversible steps towards more productive economic and trade relations between them.

Meanwhile, talking to the media, Razak Dawood hoped that through the recent rounds of dialogue, both sides would resolve all the transit and bilateral trade issues along with issues of other informal trade.

Razak Dawood said in the recent COVID- 19 pandemic, trade between both sides have been affected and hoped that the trade volume would be revived soon in coming months.

The Adviser said now both sides were reviewing use of technology for smooth functioning of the trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said in coming month, he would lead his delegation to negotiate on the 9th round of APTTA with Afghanistan and all the issues would be resolved through the common agenda of peace and prosperity.

While addressing the session of 8th three days APTTA meeting, Minister for Commerce and Industry Afghanistan, Nisar Ahmad Faizi Ghoryani said the government of Afghanistan under the leadership of President Ashraf Ghani was committed to providing all facilities to Pakistan for increasing the trade and investment opportunities in both sides.

He said there was huge potential to enhance the bilateral and transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and in recent years both sides are negotiating the common agenda of peace prosperity and regional harmony.

The Minister said through World Trade Organization (WTO), Afghanistan wants to export to the South Asian market via Pakistan for connecting the regional economy and trade.

He said Afghanistan was ready to connect the regional countries with Central Asian States and that Pakistan and Afghanistan could play a major role through their geographical location.

While addressing the meeting Federal Secretary for Commerce, Muhammad Sualeh Ahmad Faruqi and Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal also highlighted the different issues of trade and mutual cooperation between both sides and also gave proposals to resolved these issues.