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5th Afghan-Turk trade fair kicks off in Kabul

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By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) and Afghan-Turkish Industrialists & Traders Association (ATSIAD)jointly organized the 5th Afghan–Turk International Expo here in Kabul on Tuesday. The exhibition would be open to visitors for four days.

The exhibition aims to boost trade ties between the two countries, finding market for Afghan and Turkish products, raise awareness of Turkish investors aboutAfghan market and investment opportunities in Afghanistan as well asto persuade Afghan policymakers to pave the ground for investment in the country.

About 60 companies,34 Turkish and 26 Afghani,have showcased theirproducts and services at84 stalls in the exhibition. Additionally, 40 Turkish businessmen attended the event for business and investment appraisal in Afghanistan.

First Vice-President of ACCI, Khanjan Alkozay, termed the exhibitionimportant in expanding of trade relations between the two countriesand said that Turkey is industrial country in the region which produces quality goods and every year the trade ties between Kabul and Ankara is progressing.

Regarding export and import between Afghanistan and Turkey, he pointed out that Turkey’s export rate compared to Afghanistan is very high.Last year export value of Turkeyto Afghanistan was$320 million while the latter mostly export dry fruits, marbles and rugs. Afghanistan’s export volume was$36 million.

“According to commercial surveys, since 2002, Turkish firms have invested around $2.8 billion in Afghanistan in different fields and approximately 330 construction projects have been implemented by Turkish companies in the country,” he mentioned.

Alkozay stressed that however trade relations between Afghanistan and Turkey is growing but still traders of the two countries faced with a lot of problems as sometimes Iran does not allow  the traders to transfer the goods through its territory due to political issues.

“Our trade through Iranwith Turkey is very slow as sometimes Iran creates problem for our traders due to political issues. Lajward Route [Lapis Lazuli Corridor] which links Afghanistan to Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and then to Black Sea and onward to European countries and Balkan states is a best option for our traders.The government shallwork on the route to resolve the problemsfaced by our traders,” he suggested.

He also criticized the Turkey’s Embassy in Kabul and said the embassy created too many limitations for Afghan traders.He asked the embassy should not trouble traders when approached for visa.

Economic Advisor to Afghan President, Hazrat Omer Zakhilwal, said the government is endeavoring hard to resolve the permanent transportation problemsfaced by the Afghan traders.

He said that primary work for establishment of the Lapis Lazuli transit trade corridor has beencompleted, adding that by inauguration of the route,Afghanistan will be connected to Turkey through Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan andmost of the problems would be resolved.

On the occasion President of ATSIAD, Sami Yawoz, said that Turkey is interested to have active contribution in economic growth of Afghanistan through investments.

“We intend to introduce the existing business and investment opportunities in Afghanistan to Turkish investors and encourage them to come up and invest in Afghanistan,” he said.

On March 19, 2013, ACCI and ATSIAD signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue their business relationship in future. Based on the MoU, both parties will organize such exhibitions for next 10 years in Afghanistan. The MoU also concentrates on economic support from Turkey to Afghanistan through ATSIAD.