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Expansion of AfPak trade ties stressed

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By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Pakistan in collaboration with Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) held the third ‘Made in Pakistan’ exhibition in Kabul on Wednesday.

The three-day exhibition, held in Inter-Continental Hotel, was inaugurated by high-ranking Afghan officials, Federal Minister of Commerce and Pakistani Ambassador to Kabul.

Nearly 40 Pakistani companies will exhibit their products in 60 stalls for three days. The products include electronics, printing materials, chemicals, furniture, carpets, foodstuff, handicrafts, precious stones, safety equipment, machines, telecommunication tools, medicines, clothes, decoration materials and others which all were made in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, deputy chief of ACCI, Khanjan Alokozai, said that political issues have undermined trade ties between the two countries, adding that the relations will improve further if the problems were solved.

Hinting at improvement in Kabul-Islamabad trade ties, he said trade relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have increased more than any other neighborhood and the Afghan government is interested to expand further. “The chambers of commerce of the two countries are willing to hold the upcoming exhibition in northern Balkh province, and the other in Pakistan. The exhibitions will result in expansion of AfPak trade relations,” he added.

On the same occasion, the acting minister of Commerce and Industries, Muzammil Shinwari, said that 50 percent of Afghanistan’s trade is done through Pakistan but Afghan investors are still faced with problems in this field.

About Afghanistan’s exports, he said the country’s exports are so low in compare with Pakistan. “We will leave no stone unturned to increase our exports to Pakistan,” he vowed.

Pakistan Ambassador to Kabul, Sayed Ibrar Hussain, said in Islamabad wants to expand Kabul-Islamabad trade ties through Pakistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).

He added that Afghanistan and Pakistan are partners and both want to take the partnership to the Central Asia and then to the world.

Federal Minister of Commerce, Khurram Dastgir Khan, termed Afghanistan as Pakistan’s decades old friend, and underlined the need for boosting trade and commerce activities between the two countries. “We want to bridge bilateral trade gap and extend commerce relations and investment between the two neighboring countries,” he stressed.

In reply to a query about India’s part in the APTTA, Dastgir said that Pakistan and India relations have been tense in the past decade. “We have to say that if India normalizes its ties with Pakistan, it will be given part in the agreement which will provide more opportunity to Afghanistan in trade affairs,” he said.