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Afghanistan trade deficit decrease $500 mln with Pakistan

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries said the country’s trade dealings with Pakistan had declined around 35 percent showing $500 million deficit.

Khan Jan Alokozay, the deputy of the chamber told Afghanistan Times that the total trade dealings with Pakistan was $2.5 billion, but new it reached to around 2 billion dollars.

He called the flour and foodstuff import from Kazakhstan and Asian countries as the major reason.

“So far, flour import has decreased 20 percent from Pakistan, because Afghan markets still demand Kazakh commodity than Pakistani due to its cheapness and high quality productions,” he added.

The chamber also counted increasing insecurity and political tensions as another reason for reduction of importations with Pakistan.

He said that if the governments of Iran, India and Afghanistan implement commitments to activate the Chabahar port, the Afghan-Pak trade balance will reduce to 20 percent.

Earlier, Pakistani media had reported that due to the decrease of Afghanistan’s wheat and import of flour from Kazakhstan, more than 800 Pakistani flour factories had been closed.

“We are close to self-sufficiency in terms of wheat production, we need less and our dependence to wheat is reducing year by year,” said Musafer Qoqandi, spokesman for Minister of Commerce and Industries.

For past two years, the first target is to make the trade balance positive which is currently 90% versus 10% and to increase the domestic production, Musafer Qoqandi added.

Economic expert Sayed Masood said that Afghanistan was connected to different Asian countries and can prefer another options instead of Pakistan which always misused from its trade as pressure tool against Afghan government.

Beginning of commerce with Kazakhstan leads to hardships for Paksitani mill owners as 800 flour mills, have been closed recently.

After bloody suicide attacks in Kabul, the majority of Afghan importers vowed to stop importing medicine and foodstuffs from Pakistan.

Tensions between the two countries also caused Afghans to refrain buying Pakistan commodity in the markets and preferred another country productions.

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