The Pakistani government has decided to establish 12 Joint Trade Markets (JBTMs) along with Afghanistan along the Durand Line, Pakistan's embassy said in a statement on Monday.
The statement said that one is at Shaheedano Dand in Kurram Agency and will be open by February 2021, as a pilot project.
“The JBTMs are believed to promote the wellbeing of the people living on both sides of the Durand Line, rehabilitate those affected by anti-smuggling drive, economically integrate the neglected areas, formalize bilateral trade and transform local economies," the statement said.
The statement also mentioned that Pakistan has prepared a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of JBTMs with Afghanistan, covering all aspects, including the proposed list of items to be traded in these markets and locations.
On November 22, Pakistan shared the draft MoU and the proposed list of items to be traded in JBTMs with Afghanistan and sought the views of the Afghan side for this initiative, it said.
Trade Barriers Challenge
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 pledging 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.
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 at least 900 trucks are traveling to Pakistan and from there to Afghanistan daily while it was at least 2,000 last year.