The Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) organized the “Cross border Round table” in collaboration with Pakistani Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) and Safewrold, a UK-based independent international organization, to provide opportunity to business leaders explore ways to boost economic ties.
Chairman PAJCCI Muhammad Zubair Motiwala told reporters at a joint press conference along with Afghan traders that Pak-Afghan bilateral trade has decreased from 2.7 billion dollars to 1.2 billion dollars in less than two years.
Leaders of the two countries had pledged in 2014 to increase bilateral trade to 5 billion US dollars in five years, however, deteriorating relations, blame game, border closure and obstacles in implementation of transit agreement affected trade ties.
The traders announced their support for all measures by the governments across the border to adopt measures for ensuring national sanctity and security. They, however, said these measures should not “hurt the economic and social ties across the border that cause massive monetary losses and increase trust deficit.”
“We urge governments on both the sides to segregate business and trade ties from political and security tensions and suggest that Pak-Afghan trade both bilateral and transit needs rejuvenation,” the traders said in a unanimous resolution, released at the conclusion of the talks.
They also emphasized that appropriate confidence building measures may be instilled for removing deep-rooted mistrust in Pak-Afghanistan relationship that is not only hampering political dialogue but also significantly impact in the economic transition between the two countries.
President Afghan Chambers of Commerce Khan Jan Alkozai said Pakistani traders are interested to do trade through Pakistani ports Gwadar in Balochistan and Karachi port as they are very near to Afghanistan. “Afghanistan has been facilitating Pakistan trade with the Central Asian states and Afghan businessmen also want similar cooperation from the Pakistani side” Alkozai said.
The delegates called for convening the meeting of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) for “facilitating the process of joint discussions in order to revive the economic transition leading to peace and prosperity across the border in specific and in the region in general.”
Pakistan had hosted the last meeting of APTACA, an important forum to deal with problems affecting smooth implementation of the 2010 revised transit treaty, in Islamabad in February 2016.
Afghanistan had to host its 7th meeting in Kabul in September 2017. But it postponed it apparently amid tensions. An Afghan delegate, who had been involved in Pak-Afghan trade talks for years, said in Islamabad the APTTCA should meet after every six months. The Nation