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Govt announces multiple-entry visa for KP traders

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Afghan government has announced the issuance of one year multiple-entry visa for the businessmen of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. The issuing of multiple-entry visa for the KP businessmen will enhance trade ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper, the Afghan Consul General Syed Mohammad Ibrahimkhel told office-bearers of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KPCCI) on Monday that the decision of issuing multiple-entry visas was taken after the Afghan government received a letter from the KP chamber of commerce.

During the meeting with members of the KPCCI, Ibrahimkhel asked the Pakistani government to eradicate all the illegal checkpoints on Peshawar-Torkham Highway which is a major hurdle for enhancing the trade relations between the two countries.

He further said that Afghan government is providing numerous facilities to Pakistani traders despite the Afghani traders still face so many challenges in importing their commercial goods through Pakistan.

The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said that Pakistan has not been implementing the Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement (APTTA) honestly. It furthered that the government of Pakistan does not allow transit goods of the Afghan traders on time and later charge them for the additional period.

In October this year, the ACCI asked the government to revise the APTTA as it was not benefitting Afghanistan in the current circumstances.

The deputy chief of ACCI, Khanjan Alkozai said, “According to APTTA, Pakistani trucks are allowed to enter into Afghanistan and can go to every province. However, Afghan trucks cannot go to Wagah and Karachi ports without road pass and insurance. Taking road pass and insurance are big challenges for Afghan traders.”

In April 2015, Commerce Minister of Pakistan, Khurram Dastgir, said that Islamabad has extended facilities to Afghan traders aimed at strengthening trade ties between the two neighboring countries.

During his visit to Kabul, he said that Pakistan has reduced a range of transit restrictions faced by the Afghan traders.

However, in July of the same year, the ACCI said that Pakistan has increased custom tariff on Afghan fruit products. It alleged that the move was aimed at damaging Afghanistan’s fruit products.

The decision had come at a time when the fruit production has increased by 30 percent as compared to the last year.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ACCI, Atiquallah Nusrat, said that custom tariff on export of fruit from Afghanistan was Rs2,500 in Pakistan in the past, but the country has now increased it to Rs7,500.