Afghan officials say the coronavirus outbreak in China has affected trade relations between the two countries, which share a small border in northeastern Afghanistan.
Air corridors are the most direct route for Afghan investors to send their exports to China, and statistics by the Chamber of Commerce and Investment reveal that more than 20 (metric) tons of Afghan dry fruit and saffron are sent to China every week by Turkish Airlines flights, but the flights have stopped since the coronavirus outbreak.
The virus has killed more than 300 people and has infected thousands of others.
“The issue that has been explained to us so far is that Turkish Airlines, which transfers Afghan goods through the air corridor to China, has delayed its flights for one week,” said Sayed Zaman Hashemi, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
The imports of fruits and vegetables from China have also stopped over the coronavirus outbreak, according to local investors.
Afghanistan imports 250 types of goods from China, investors said.
“The prices are on the rise… because the imports from China are zero,” said Gada Mohammad Kohdamani, an investor. “Some businessmen have purchased pears from China, but they have been kept in cold storage houses in China.”
Figures by the National Statistics and Information Authority show that Afghanistan’s imports from China were worth $1.2 billion last year. China is the second biggest exporter of goods to Afghanistan after Iran.