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KARACHI: Despite the prevailing risk and challenging geopolitical landscape, specifically affecting business conduct at Pak-Afghan border, Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and industry (PAJCCI) believes in persistent efforts to keep B2B interactions across the border thriving.

Chairman PAJCCI, Zubair Motiwalal while appreciating the team at both the sides for conducting its first meeting under the series of stakeholders meeting at Karachi and Kabul, stated that in such difficult times such initiatives can help sustain connectivity and transform apparent disputes into opportunities, example of which is resumption of trade through Chaman border after 12 days hiatus due to persistent efforts by PAJCCI team in alliance with Chaman Chamber of Commerce & Industries.

Motiwala lauded efforts by Vice President Imran Kakar, Director Junaid Makda and Chaman Chamber President Haji Jalat Khan for consistently pursuing the matter of border closure that came to a halt after Afghan Taliban occupied Pak-Afghan border checkpoint near Spin Boldak.

Chairman PAJCCI commented that the sanctity of Pakistan and Afghanistan comes first and PAJCCI stands by all relevant measures that are required to be taken. However, closure of borders for such long duration causes permanent, long-term damage to the bilateral and transit trade. The stranded consignments, specifically of perishable nature, faces not only financial losses but heavy demurrages, waiting time, uncertainty and diversion of both bilateral and transit trade to other avenues leads to psychological rift and affects the economic equilibrium in the border areas.

He urged Government to define framework for safeguarding businesses from losses during these force majeure situations, especially by issuing directives to shipping lines in this context, unlike previous scenarios whereby heavy demurrages affected cost of doing business through Pakistan and forced routing of significant business volumes to other regional players.

Khan Jan Alokozai, Co-Chairman PAJCCI, appreciated the role played by PAJCCI Pakistan in ensuring the border opening and acknowledges the uncertainty prevailing in Afghanistan due to the current dilemma; however, he sought the support of Pakistani Government to keep the momentum going especially at this time when their exports are of vital importance. He also elaborated the significance of conducting the series of stakeholders and committee meetings by PAJCCI especially at this critical juncture and believed that resultant action plan and policy briefs will be of great help to develop a comprehensive economic framework for both the Governments.

PAJCCI Secretariats are currently compiling the meeting drafts to develop action checklist and policy briefs which will shortly be shared with all the relevant stakeholders.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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