The monitoring meeting of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Issues Contract Agreement (APTICA) is one of the main options that can resolve transit and trade issues between Afghanistan and Pakistan,an official of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said on Friday.
The ACCI deputy head Khan Jan Alokozai said Pakistan wants Afghanistan to hold the monitoring meeting to discuss transit and trade issues but the Ministry of Commerce and Industries has not announced its final decision in this regard.
The APTICA monitoring meeting has not been held in the last two years. This has left the two nations’ transit ties unclear and knotted to numerous problems.
“Pakistan is highly interested in holding APTICA meeting and Pakistan itself wants that transit and trade problems are resolved as soon as possible. But it is not known when the Ministry of Commerce and Industries will hold the meeting,” ACCI deputy head Khan Jan Alokozay said.
Investors said Afghan trucks are not allowed to enter Pakistani territory therefore they unload in border between the two countries.
They said such hurdles have unprecedentedly decreased trade volume between the two countries in the last two years.
Trade value between Afghanistan and Pakistan was up to $3 billion annually in previous years, but this has reduced to $1 billion in the past two years.
A Pakistani analyst who visited Kabul last week to discuss trade and transit relations with Afghan officials, said they are optimistic that the issues will be resolved in the near future.
“I hope that officials of the two countries will meet together and resolve the transit problems which will benefit the people of the two nations. Right now, required changes have happened inviews of Afghanistan and Pakistan governments in this respect,” Qazi Humayun, a Pakistani analyst and a former diplomat, told TOLOnews.
Afghan analysts said although it is not believed that Pakistan will help Afghanistan in resolving its trade problems, but Kabul should not leave opportunities in creating a trade balance between countries in the region.
“Finding solutions to transit problems with Pakistan should be a top priority of government. There are alternative routes for trade with the region, but Pakistan routes are important to Afghanistan.Based on regional conventions, Pakistan should allow Afghanistan to use its soil (routes) for trading with the world,” economic affairs analyst Muzammil Shinwari said.
“To balance Afghanistan trade in the region, government needs to use all the available opportunities. For better management of trade and transit, government should talk with its trade partners from a strong position,” Taj Mohammad Talash, economic affairs analyst, said.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industries said earlier this year that it is ready to hold APTICA’s monitoring meeting and that it will be held in Kabul in the near future.
The ministry said they will discuss with Pakistani officials the inclusion of India in APTICA to enable New Delhi transit goods to Afghanistan.
But now as Chabahar Port has been opened and India can send its goods to Afghanistan and Central Asia, it is not known the ministry will discuss the presence of India in APTICA in the next monitoring meeting.