AT Monitoring Desk
KABUL: Using railway, Afghanistan exported 1,000 tons of talc stone to China through Hairatan dry port in northern Balkh province during an official ceremony on Thursday.
It is for the first time Afghanistan is sending the stone to China. Officials from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China besides their Afghan counterparts at the Hairatan port attended the ceremony.
Yama Yari, minister of transport, said the talc stone was sent to China through railroad in 41 containers. From now on, Afghan goods would be exported to China through the same route, he added.
Yari said Afghanistan was overcoming its geographical challenges and would soon emerge as South and Central Asia’s roundabout.
He said the government was trying to explore more routes for trade with other countries in order to dispatch Afghan goods to international markets.
Technical department head at the Administrative Affairs, Khan Wali Khan Basharmal, on the occasion said bilateral trade with China had increased.
He said in recent weeks they sent eight wagons of export goods through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China and the experiment was successful.
Without going into details, Basharmal said still some minor issues existed with regard to trade with China and they were busy trying to resolve the issues.
He said they had continuous meetings with Chinese, Kazakh and Uzbek officials during the past eight months and hoped trade ties with these countries would boost up.
He said air corridors were good to encourage traders, but its transport cost was several times higher than land routes, adding a cargo plane carrying 22,000 tons of pine nuts to China cost $73,000 while the same goods were sent to China through the railroad against $4,000.
He said previously Afghanistan would send its exports to China through Pakistan and the journey would take 40 days but from Hairatan port, the journey took only 12 days.