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Measures suggested improving trade with Afghanistan

Islamabad: Chairman Founder Group Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Munawar Mughal has said that government needs to take more steps to improve trade with Afghanistan which will also boost Pakistan’s share in Central Asia markets.

Government should launch a training programme to improve capacity of Afghan customs officials to ensure swift movement of goods to save time and costs, he said.

Law and order, illegal checkpoints, administrative delays, and informal payments account for almost half of transit costs, he said while speaking to exporters at ICCI.

Munawar Mughal said that the tyranny of weak institutions in Afghanistan is more punishing to trade than the tyranny of rocky terrain, he said. Additional investment in trade infrastructure, harmonizing customs procedures and regulatory framework can help all stakeholders, he opined.

Lauding the government’s move to grant MFN status to India, he said that all political issues related to Afghanistan need to be resolved. He said that Afghanistan lost 6 points in Doing Business report in 2012 to bag 16oth position which is a matter of concern.

Iranian transit trade has emerged as a challenge as the Afghanistan-Iran border areas are more stable than the Pak-Afghan border points, he said.

Munawar Mughal said that US can do more to encouraging trade and investment in Afghanistan, adding that an international resolve can result in a functional state and growing economy which will also help Pakistan, her major trading partner, he said.

At the occasion veteran trade leader Zafar Bakhtawari said that Afghan integration will gain from projects that link Herat to Iran, Balkh to Uzbekistan, and Kandahar to Pakistan ensuring additional revenue which currently stands at 31 per cent of the Afghan budget.

There is a need for frequent exhibitions in Kabul to showcase capacity of Pakistani industry related to construction, food processing, services, transport, and communication sectors, said Khalid Chaudhry.

Poorly designed and managed border points, long waiting times encouraging bribery, increased handling costs, risks of cargo loss and damage, restrictive practices, low vehicle standards, and lack of financial and insurance systems which are keeping Afghanistan underdeveloped should be considered seriously, exporters said.

For more information, contact:
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Chamber House, Aiwan-e-Sanat-o-Tijarat Road, Mauve Area, G-8/1, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +9251 225 0526 and 225 3145
Fax: +9251 225 2950
Email: icci@brain.net.pk
Website: www.icci.com.pk

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