Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) on Sunday said Iran retained its position as the country’s largest trade partner for 2016.
Statistics by the ACCI shows that Iran’s trade value with Afghanistan for 2016 was $1.8 billion USD. However trade volumes between Afghanistan and Pakistan for 2016 dropped by $1.2 billion USD.
Iran’s exports to Afghanistan over the past year was estimated to be $1.8 billion USD, the ACCI said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) said currently countries in the region and around the world are looking to expand their economic and trade cooperation with Afghanistan - except Pakistan.
Afghanistan trade volumes declined by 50 percent since 2013. But despite this Iran and Afghanistan’s trade volume has increased significantly.
Based on the ACCI’s statistics, trade volumes between Afghanistan and Iran is estimated to total almost $2 billion USD, with Pakistan at $1.3 billion USD, China at $1 billion USD, Turkmenistan at $700 million USD and with Kazakhstan at $500 million USD.
“Currently there are several countries who are willing to provide our needs, even they are prepared to give us subsidies on food items and export them to Afghanistan,” said ACCI CEO Atiqullah Nusrat.
The Afghan ministry of commerce and industries has said that trade volume between Afghanistan and Pakistan dropped over Pakistan’s moves to shut trade routes and strained relations between the two countries.
“We always tried to keep a balance while managing our needs of products so that we are not dependent on one or two countries,” said Musafir Qoqandi, spokesman for the ministry of commerce and industires.
Back in February, Pakistan closed its key crossings with Afghanistan. Fresh border restrictions by Pakistan apparently opened new doors of trade and commerce opportunities for Afghanistan and during this period. Afghanistan’s trade and commercial ties were expanded with Iran, Turkey, India and central Asian countries.