By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Kazakhstan opened Wednesday the first-ever commerce house in Kabul, a move called to expand trade issues with Afghanistan.
The house was opened by Afghan and Kazakh officials and a number of businessmen and representatives of private sector of the two countries.
Kazakh Ambassador to Afghanistan Omirtay Bitimove called that establishment of the house a “good-beginning” of trade ties with Afghanistan.
He said that the commerce house would facilitate the business deals for Kazak and Afghan traders.
“We want to expand our trade with Afghanistan through different outlets. The establishment of the commerce house would pave the ground for both courtiers’ traders to have close ties in their commerce deals,” the ambassador mentioned.
He asked Afghan traders to set up a joint business association with Kazaks for further bilateral commerce relations.
“We hope that Afghan government can achieve on its economical growth through trade relationship with Kazakhstan,” he remarked.
Afghanistan and Kazakhstan have long stand trade relations. Some economists believe that Kazak can be a better alternative for importing foodstuff instead of Pakistan because Islamabad always creates obstacles for Afghan traders.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries deputy chairman Khan Jan Alkozai said that chamber was determined to encourage Afghan traders to start business with Kazakhstan through the house. “We will soon open similar house in Astana to have close contact with Kazak traders.”
He remarked that Afghanistan’s last year export to Kazakhstan cost $9.2 million while its import from Kazakhstan cost $400 million.
He pointed out that Kazakhstan has good trade relations with Afghanistan and there is no constrains before Afghan traders there.
Alkozai said that there were a lot of investment opportunities in Afghanistan in the fields of mines and agriculture, asking Kazak traders to come and start investment.
Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, Chief of Afghanistan Investment Support Agency termed Kazak trade house in Kabul vital for expansion of bilateral trade ties.
“So far, 44 Kazak firms have invested around $30 million in Afghanistan. The commerce house will encourage Kazak investors to invest more in different economical aspects in the country,” he mentioned.
Kazakhstan exports oil, gas, foodstuff and construction materials to Afghanistan and imports rug, fresh and dry fruit.