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New Air Corridors to open Turkey, Saudi markets to Afghan traders

AT-KABUL: Afghanistan plans to open two new air corridors soon with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, a government official said, with an aim to increase exports and decrease imports.

The air corridor to Turkey would be opened this week, while another one would link Afghan businessmen next week to Saudi Arabia, Samir Rasa, an aide to President Ghani’s economic adviser said Saturday.

Rasa added that the ceiling of exports was expected to soar up to one billion dollars this year with the help of the air corridors, through which, a balance would be made in the trade affairs.

“The national strategy for exports that helps our exports, has been approved. We are working to increase exports through the air corridors and we expect to export goods at a cost of one billion dollars this year,” said Rasa.

He also said that Turkish investors were interested in investing in different sectors in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s current exports reach 800 million dollars, while its imports is much higher nearly six billion dollars a year.

Last year, Afghanistan opened two air corridors to India and Kazakhstan, exporting 2,500 fresh fruit and medical herbs through 86 flights, according to the chamber of commerce and industries.

The government also plans to open another corridor to the United Arab Emirates within a month.

Economic experts believe that the air corridors would not help the long-term trade programs.

“The air corridors are good for the short-term exports, but the program is not useful in the long terms, because the government has to subsidize to the businessmen and this is not possible for long. Relying on the air corridors is not the solution,” Sayed Rahman Emran, an economic analyst said.

Traders who export their goods through the air corridors, enjoy 80 per cent government subsidy for the air fare.

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