PESHAWAR: Afghan Consul General in Peshawar Najeebullah Ahmadzai has said that his government is taking effective steps to resolve issues of Pakistani traders, importers and exporters and facilitate them at every level.

`Afghanistan wants to promote cordial trade, economic, culture and religious ties with Pakistan,` he said this while sharing views with business community at Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Tuesday.

The diplomat said that Afghan government had always kept politics and trade separate from each other. He said that both Pakistan and Afghanistan should work out a joint mechanism to resolve issues of the business community on fast-track basis to strengthen the regional economy.

Referring to suggestions of the SCCI office bearers about improvement in the bilateral trade, Mr Ahmadzai said that the Afghan government was taking necessary measures to facilitate Pakistani businessmen.

He said that a meeting of Pakistanis exporters and importers should be held at Torkham to devise a joint mechanism for amicable resolution of their problems. He expressed concerns over declining bilateral trade volume.

Earlier, SCCI president Engineer Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz asked both Pakistan and Afghanistan to rationalise tariffs, revise duties and remove complicated regulations and policies to improve mutual trade between the two states.

He said that Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (Aptta) signed back in 2011, should be reviewed to remove apprehensions and reservations of traders, exporters and importers about the pact and sign a fresh agreement.

Mr Pervaiz said that Pakistan and Afghanistan were brotherly states with com-mon religion, culture and language.

However, he said that bilateral trade volume between the neighbouring countries was very low that needed to be further improved by taking joint measures by both the governments.

`Islamabad and Kabul should set aside their other matters and focus on improvement of mutual trade and ensure provision of facilities to businessmen on both sides of the border to ease their difficulties,` said the SCCI chief.

He said that 100 per cent scanning and examination of Pak-Afghan transit trade containers at Karachi port was against the Aptta agreement. He said that trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan declined from $2.5billion to less than $1billion because of enforcement of complicated regulations, policies, high tariffs and duties.

Zahidullah Shinwari, Faiz Mohammad, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, Naeem Butt, Aftab Iqbal, Mujeebur Rehman and others also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the issues that were being faced by traders of both the countries and presented several proposals for their amicable resolution.
Source: Dawn

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