Afghan and Pakistani officials at the Pakistan-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum 2020 in Islamabad agreed to solve 16 out of 21 issues related to trade and transit between two countries, officials said on Tuesday.
“The remaining six issues are related to APTTA (the Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement). These six issues will be assessed during the Pakistani commerce minister's trip to Afghanistan," said Nisar Ahmad Ghoriani, the Afghan acting minister of industry and commerce.
The official added that Pakistan’s minister of commerce will soon visit Afghanistan.
The permission of the Afghan trucks through Wagah port as well as issues related to the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement will also discussed in the event, according to Afghan officials.
The Afghan private sector representatives, meanwhile, called on officials of the two countries to address their problems.
“The problems faced by Afghan businessmen in Pakistan should be addressed. Also, our problems in crossing points and ports should be addressed,” said Mohammad Yunus Mohmand, the deputy head of Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
The private sector representatives said Afghanistan has been seeking alternatives for its trade with Pakistan in the region and that there is a need for Pakistan to facilitate trade relations with Afghanistan.
According to officials, the two customs departments of Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed on a 28-article protocol on the electronic exchange of customs data aimed at boosting cooperation between customs of the two countries.
This comes as Afghanistan Chambers Federation (ACF) said this month that trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan will significantly drop by the end of this year due to various hurdles, including “extortion,” transit issues and recent closure of crossing points between the two neighboring countries.
The institution has also predicted this year’s Afghanistan-Pakistan trade to be less than $1 billion.
ACF deputy chief Khan Jan Alokozai said at least 900 trucks are traveling to Pakistan and from there to Afghanistan daily while it was at least 2,000 last year.