Afghanistan’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce on Friday said that barriers in the way of the country’s exports to Indian markets have not been resolved despite officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan pledged to address the challenges in this sector.
Industry and Commerce Minister Nisar Ahmad Ghoryani said officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan are expected to convene a meeting next month to discuss how to remove trade and transit barriers.
Back in October, 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 the two countries.
The Afghan private sector representatives called on officials of the two countries to address their problems.
They said they are "sidelined" when it comes to Afghanistan-Pakistan talks on commerce and trade.
“There are a lot of challenges and the private sector is suffering its consequences. The Afghan government needs to resolve this issue so that we can overcome the issues facing transit of our goods through Pakistan,” said Sayed Zaman Hashimi, CEO of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
“We hope that the talks between the two countries continue to help settle down all these issues in the near future,” said Naqibullah Safai, the head of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI)
According to officials, the customs departments of Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed on a 28-article protocol on the electronic exchange of customs data aimed at boosting cooperation between the customs of the two countries.
Afghanistan Chambers Federation (ACF) said last 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 the recent closure of the 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 last month that m at least 900 trucks are traveling to Pakistan and from there to Afghanistan daily while it was at least 2,000 last year.