Afghan officials have said a delegation of Chinese officials will soon travel to Afghanistan to begin the planning process for the construction of a trade and transit route connecting Afghanistan to China through the northeastern Wakhan Corridor.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said that construction of a short and inexpensive trade and transit route between China and Afghanistan is something both countries have agreed to and plant to implement in the near future.
According to the ACCI, a tentative agreement was made between President Ghani and the Chinese government to build the route as part of their broader new initiative to increase trade and diplomatic relations, which was launched during Ghani's trip to Beijing over a week ago.
The Afghan delegation that visited China with Ghani included 27 representatives of the private sector, many of who have expressed optimism about the potential future for economic ties between the two countries.
The ACCI has touted China's interest in investing in mining, agriculture, infrastructure, banking, energy and trade in Afghanistan. The delegation expected to arrive in Afghanistan soon, which will assess the Wakhan-China route plan, will also consider other investment opportunities while on their visit.
"The agreement was signed by the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Federation of Trade Recourse of China and the issues were discussed and will be implemented soon," said Atiqullah Nasrat, the Acting Chief of ACCI.
Meanwhile, Afghan investors have said they hope the Afghan government will be able to see through the commitments it has made for opening up trade with China. "We hope that the government of Afghanistan will be able to implement the agreements soon," an investor named Sakhai Payman said.
Others called for a more cohesive, comprehensive strategic plan from the government. "A strategic policy should be announced in Afghanistan then anyone will be able to see the strategy of Afghanistan and they will feel safe and then they will invest," another investor named Abdul Jabar Safi said.
But officials at ACCI and other experts have warned that insecurity remains a major concern for foreign investors from China and elsewhere. Before any implementation can take place, they say, security for investors and their projects must be guaranteed.