Pakistan, Afghanistan hold key economic, trade talks

ISLAMABAD:Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Ahmad Hakimi arrived in Pakistan for important day-long talks on economic cooperation and trade issues on Monday as both countries have kept communication, officials said.The Pak-Afghan Joint Economic Commission meeting was earlier scheduled to be held in August but was postponed in view of tensions that had also derailed the Pakistan-brokered peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.A Pakistani Finance Ministry’s official said that the issues to be discussed include taxation, trade facilitation, motorways, highways and railways projects, increase of scholarships for Afghan students in Pakistani medical and engineering colleges, transportation, energy projects, as well as potential joint ventures in various other sectors.An Afghan diplomatic source said Afghan side will raise “problems of the Afghan traders because of the non-implementation completely of the transit trade deal.”

The source said Kabul may also insist on permission to Afghan trucks using Pakistan land route for trade with India. Currently Pakistan allows Afghan trucks to drop goods at Wahga, the official border point between Pakistan and India.Afghanistan allows Pakistani trucks to enter Central Asian states via Afghanistan’s land routes.The present bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan stands at nearly 2.5 billion U.S. dollars and both have agreed to increase it to 5 billion dollars by 2017. The trade volume is mostly in Pakistan’s favor.Afghanistan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai said in Kabul last week that the finance minister will “push for implementation of the 48 decisions” taken during the visit of President Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan last year.

“Our minister should also discuss the issues with his Pakistani counterpart that decisions had been taken and they are on papers and are not implemented,” Karzai told reporters.aIn Islamabad, the Foreign Ministry spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said the main areas of focus will be bilateral and transit trade, review of the projects carried out with Pakistani grant, capacity building of Afghan institutions and enhancement of cooperation in other areas of mutual interest.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>