Islamabad, Kabul urged to make joint efforts for removal of hurdles to mutual trade

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Traders from Pakistan and Afghanistan have urged Islamabad and Kabul to set aside the political differences and make joint efforts to give boost to bilateral and transit trade between the two neighbouring countries.
The participants urged the government of Pakistan to devise a separate policy or mechanism for Afghan traders’ to pave the way to get them registered with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and other authorities so they will contribute their share in Pakistan’s economy.
They also attributed the strict regulations, complicated laws and cumbersome procedures as main hurdles in bolstering Pak-Afghan mutual trade and transit trade.
The Pak-Afghan traders were addressed during a meeting chaired by Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) president Sherbaz Bilour held here at the chamber house on Friday.
The meeting was attended by Afghan Commercial Attache in Peshawar, Fawad Arash, SCCI senior vice president Engineer Manzoor Elahi, former SVP Shahid Hussain, former vice president Abidullah Yousafzai, Sadar Gul, senior member Ejaz Ali Shah, Khyber chamber president Syed Jawad Hussain Kazmi, along with Pak-Afgahn traders, importers and exporters in a large number.
Participants of the meeting discussed the problems and irritants being faced by traders on both sides of the border, which have caused hampering bilateral trade between the two neigbouring countries.
They urged the chamber to take up issues with Pakistani authorities, especially to play a role in devising seperate policy or mechanism for registration of Afghan traders with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in order to contribute their share in improving the Pakistan’s economy and business ties.
The meeting hailed Pakistan’s customs authorities for reduction in the number of duties, urging the Afghan government to bring further reduction on Pakistani importing items to Afghanistan.
Fawad Arash said his country is keen to bolster bilateral and transit trade with Pakistan. In this regard, he added the Afghan government has taken pragmatic steps and resolved issues of traders’ community on priority basis.
The diplomat said that the promotion of Pak-Afghan trade and economic relations is essential for bringing economic prosperity and development in the whole region. Therefore, he mentioned that Kabul is taking serious steps to resolve issues of traders’ communities on both sides of the border.
Sherbaz Bilour noted that there is huge potential to further strengthen mutual trade relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
However, he emphasized that the both countries should set aside political differences and make joint efforts to bolster bilateral trade by resolving traders’ issues amicably. He added the steps can bring economic stability, peace and prosperity in the whole region.
Sherbaz Bilour assured the meeting that the SCCI will take up issues of Afghan traders with relevant authorities in a sufficient manner.
Earlier, the chamber’s former SVP, Shahid Hussain briefed the participants about progress of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan through Kharlachi, Ghulam Khan and Torkham trade routes as well as apprised regarding problems of the traders at the both side of the border.