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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to streamline bilateral and transit trade as well as to finalise the Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) within the next two months.

The understanding was reached during the two-day talks held in Kabul from March 25-26 on trade and transit facilities.

In a significant stride towards fortifying economic ties and facilitating smoother trade relations, Pakistan and Afghanistan engaged in comprehensive bilateral talks on trade and transit facilities.

Pak-Afghan PTA likely to be finalised

Led by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Industry and Trade, Nooruddin Azizi, and Pakistan’s Deputy Minister of Commerce Muhammad Khurram Agha, starting from 25 March, two-day discussions resulted in pivotal agreements aimed at fostering mutual prosperity and cooperation.

During the meeting, both delegations committed to finalising the Agreement on Preferential Trade among Developing Member Countries within the next two months.

Pakistan also pledged to facilitate the transfer of goods from international containers to regional containers (cross-stuffing) in Karachi ports within the next six months.

An agreement was reached to grant tariff preferences to 10 export goods, including eight agricultural and two industrial items.

The delegation also discussed and agreed upon a trial period of one year for a temporary independent permit for truck movement will commence from May 2024.

Both countries agreed to facilitate the transfer of goods through multi-modal air transit via their respective airports, starting within the next two months.

Moreover, Pakistan committed to eliminating the requirement of compulsory bank guarantee for transit goods from Afghanistan within a week, opting for export insurance instead.

Further steps to remove obstacles will be taken in consultation with Afghanistan.

Both sides also agreed to refrain from barter trade and to establish and develop banking relations.

Furthermore, Pakistan expressed readiness to purchase coal from Afghanistan at international prices, opening up trade opportunities in the region.

Afghanistan’s disinfection process for export cotton was acknowledged as adequate.

The high-level delegation from Pakistan, led by Deputy Minister of Commerce Muhammad Khurram Agha, responded to an official invitation extended by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The visit aims to strengthen transit relations between the two nations and pave the way for enhanced trade opportunities.

Both parties expressed dedication to expanding and deepening their economic cooperation for mutual benefit and prosperity.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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