Mutual trust and respect are key to realizing true potential of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan: Chairman PAJCCI

Karachi, July 25, 2022 (PPI-OT):PAJCCI held stakeholders meeting in Swat attended by PAJCCI executive members, Afghan delegation, senior members of Swat, Mardan and Kurram Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Muhammad Naseer DG and Noman Bashir Director of TDAP, Dr. Hassan Dawood; CEO KPBOIT, Regional heads of National Bank and Habib Bank Limited, various local trading bodies and media.

Zia Sarhadi; VP PAJCCI chaired the session and informed the forum about continuous efforts of PAJCCI and its Chairman, Zubair Motiwala and Co-Chairman, Khan Jan Alokozai; both of them have not only provided insights to the government officials but have been instrumental in raising voice of business community to the level of respective premiers.

Secretary General PAJCCI; Faiza, informed the forum that PAJCCI as the only joint chamber of Pakistan has been successful in engaging various chambers across borders to deliberate issues and put forward practical solutions to both governments and trade bodies. She highlighted recent developments where PAJCCI recommended several ideas and solutions to Ministry of Commerce for discussion in their recent visit to Kabul. Several recommendations have been accepted by both governments including border bazars, coal imports, trade exhibitions, exchange of delegations, increase in local currency trading items, barter trade etc.

Khan Jan Alokozai; Co-Chairman PAJCCI and head of Afghan delegation thanked all PAJCCI officials, members of various chambers and government entities for their efforts in trade facilitation especially Pakistan Customs at border crossings for actively reducing congestion and priority clearance of perishable goods in current season. He said that historic cultural and social relation between two countries can be turned into successful and long-term economic partnership, reduce trade with far flung countries and increase the local/regional trade covering CARs. Pakistan can provide access to CARs via Afghanistan with less turnaround time than any other route.

Afghanistan can import items like rice, cooking oil and beans from Pakistan and export coal to Pakistan instead of CARs and other countries. Joint coal-based power plants can be easily set up by both countries to fulfil energy needs. He also provided updates on recent visit of Pakistan Ministry of Commerce where several agreements were achieved with respect to bilateral, transit trade, investment and joint ventures. Issues from Afghan side in areas of high duties on coal imports, chicken and pharma will be raised with Afghan government and will be followed till resolution with priority. He assured his continued support to Pakistan business community to realize full potential of trade.

President Swat Chamber of Commerce also addressed the forum and welcomed them on behalf of Swat business community and hoped that opening of new borders will bring huge opportunities for both sides. CEO KPBOIT Dr. Hassan Dawood informed that supporting trade with Afghanistan with various measures and ideas is top agenda of KPK government and offered KPBOIT platform for various trading opportunities. He also informed about KPBOIT website for raising any complaints and issues of trading community and his personal help in resolving them.

Mr. Zakir Shah; President Mardan Chamber of Commerce thanked PAJCCI and appreciated their efforts to engage diverse trading communities and both the governments. He said that due to trust deficit on both sides several operational issues occur like unwarranted closure of borders resulting in congestion and damage to perishable goods, he stressed the need for EDF to set up cold storages in KPK to address this matter. He also urged PAJCCI to raise the idea of load management at borders and where necessary alternate route to transporters can be provided in case of high load or any border closure to curtail the delays and damage to goods and reduce the loss to businesses. He urged that fresh consumables must be cleared within 2 hours using one window option to reduce turnaround time.

Forum was also informed about registration and benefits of PAJCCI B2B portal where traders can directly source trading partners in either country and upcoming feature of Uzbekistan trader information and their products. Other CAR states will also be added in future by PAJCCI.

The participants jointly recommended to develop and activate dry ports, cold storage and cold supply chain facilities for perishable items dedicated for PAK-AFG border trade, curbing of illegal activities, multiple security checks by either side, wrong and fraudulent invoicing and connivance of authorities with unscrupulous elements hurting the legal trade having potential of over 3 Bn USD between two countries as witnessed during 2011-2015. Delegates and participants appreciated PAJCCI and its leadership for relentless pursuance of trade issues and solutions in turbulent times.

For more information, contact:
Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI)
Tel: +92-21-99218024-7
Fax: +92-21-99218028
Email: info@pajcci.com
Website: http://www.pajcci.com/