With reference to the meetings organized by the Ministry of Commerce related to Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral trade and transit, recommendations have been sought on behalf of the private sector by the Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce Industry (PAJCCI).
The Co-Chairman of PAJCCI Khan Jan Alokazai praised the initiative taken by the Pakistan Government to submit aligned proposals by PAJCCI across the border, which represents the true concerns and emotions of the business and trade community of both countries.
Afghanistan should get extra consideration for its trade concerns as it is a landlocked and underdeveloped country; he urged while signing the PTA.
Considering Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to support Afghanistan in all economic contexts, Chairman PAJCCI Zubair Motiwala again said that Afghanistan needs Pakistan to support trade and local industry and also get Afghanistan on board as a primary partner for domestically manufactured goods.
In contrast to other players like India, Iran, Turkey, or Central Asian Republics (CARs), it was requested that Afghanistan should get the best regional rates and accommodations.
He further said to overcome gridlock, Afghanistan should ensure operations at both gates, as a single gate operation is disturbing the situation at Torkham border.
He suggested that by opening both gates together, one could be used for the trade and the other gate kept reserve for the fast movement of empty containers and trade consignments that will lead to open up the availability of trackers, containers, and vehicles at market rates.
PAJCCI compiled a comprehensive proposal from the several sessions conducted across Pakistan, which was submitted to the Ministry of Commerce as the desire of Pakistan’s private sector. The proposal report also indicated challenges faced by the businessmen while performing roles in Central Asia via Afghanistan.
To realize valuable propositions across the border, Afghanistan should provide access to Central Asia and develop an effective joint mechanism to promote Pakistan’s trade with those countries.
Motiwala suggested that cotton import from Uzbekistan must be considered as custom free as it will not put impacts on the industry in Afghanistan but Pakistan needs it.
He was in favour of the strategy to ensure borders stay open border throughout but also stressed that Pakistan’s national sanctity should not be harmed. Media will play its own role and there should not be any news of creating issues on the border.
PAJCCI specified that Afghanistan should pay attention to its business visa regime and accommodate many Pakistani investors who are waiting and willing to invest there. It was highlighted that strategic and policy negotiations are also needed.
Image Source: Gwadar Port