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Afghan business expansions worry Pakistanis

AT-KABUL: Afghanistan’s business relations with the rest of the world have become a matter of concern for Pakistani traders who are progressively losing their major market in their neighboring country.

President Ashraf Ghani is trying to stop trade dependence to Pakistan as the only way to the sea ports with starting relationships with new states.

The commerce and industry chamber said the situation has caused Pakistani businessmen worried and they are seeking an improvement way between the two governments.

“Afghanistan is no more dependent to Pakistan products. We are in commercial relationships with many other countries and this could be leverage although it is harmful for both countries,” said Seyamuddin Pasarli, the chamber’s spokesman.

Mohammad Zobair, head of Afghan-Pak joint chamber of commerce called on Kabul and Islamabad not to include business with politics. He said that political distrust has put negative impact on the bilateral business.

The government achieved agreements with Iran and India to use the Chabahar port for exporting Afghan products to India. It also opened air corridors with India, Indonesia and to Uzbekistan in the near future. Afghanistan has long using the Karachi port as the only sea route and both government and businessmen frequently complained of bad behavior from Pakistan in transition of Afghan merchandise.

Such incidents have caused a great reduction in the bilateral trade. The ceiling of trade has decreased from one billion dollars per year in the past to 700 million dollars.

Some economic experts believe that Pakistan is the cheapest transit way for Afghan business.

“Karachi is the best way for us because Pakistan is not in the international sanctions list and it is cheaper and easier for us,” said Wahidullah Ghazikhel, an economic expert.

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