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Traders want Pak-Afghan trade up

PESHAWAR: Traders from Pakistan and Afghanistan have urged Islamabad and Kabul to set aside the political differences and make joint efforts to boost the bilateral and transit trade between the two neighbouring countries.

They were speaking at a function chaired by Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Sherbaz Bilour at the Chamber’s House on Friday.

The Afghan Commercial Attache in Peshawar, Fawad Arash, SCCI office-bearers, traders, importers and exporters attended the programme.

The participants urged the Pakistan government 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 that they contribute to the Pakistan economy.

They said the strict regulations, complicated laws and cumbersome procedures as main hurdles in bolstering Pak-Afghan mutual trade and transit trade.

The speakers discussed the problems and irritants being faced by traders on both sides of the border, which have hampered bilateral trade and wanted steps to have them removed.

They urged the chamber to take up issues with Pakistani authorities, especially to play a role in devising separate policy or mechanism for registration of Afghan traders with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in order to contribute their share in improving Pakistan’s economy and business ties.

The speakers hailed Pakistan Customs for reduction in the number of duties, urging the Afghan government to bring further reduction on Pakistani import items to Afghanistan.

Fawad Arash said his country was keen to bolster bilateral and transit trade with Pakistan.

In this regard, he added, the Afghan government had taken pragmatic steps and resolved issues of the trader community on a priority basis.

The diplomat said the promotion of Pak-Afghan trade and economic relations was essential for bringing economic prosperity and development in the entire region.

He said Kabul was taking steps to resolve issues of trader communities on both sides of the border.

Sherbaz Bilour noted that there was a huge potential to strengthen the mutual trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

However, he emphasized that the both countries should set aside political differences and make joint efforts to increase the bilateral trade by resolving the relevant issues amicably.

He believed that the steps could bring about economic stability, peace and prosperity to the region.

Sherbaz Bilour said the SCCI would take up the issues of Afghan traders with relevant authorities.

Earlier, a businessman Shahid Hussain briefed the participants about the progress in the trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan through Kharlachi, Ghulam Khan and Torkham trade routes as well as the problems of the traders on both sides of the border.

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