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Pakistan says Afghanistan to get only SAFTA-based incentives

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Pakistani Federal Minister for Commerce and Industries said that facilities and incentives would be provided to Afghanistan under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) aimed at increasing trade activities between the two neighboring countries.

In a meeting with office-bearers of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce & Industries the other day, Khurram Dastager said that Pakistan could not grant the Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to Afghanistan because the latter isn’t member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). MFN status is a method that helps in liberalizing trade and ensures that the countries enjoy equal trading opportunities.

Dastager said that opportunities to traders of the two countries should be provided on reciprocal basis based on the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). He also hoped that the trilateral trade agreement between Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan would be finalized soon. He further said that illegal trade between Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries should be discouraged.

To increase trade and commerce activities with Afghanistan and Central Asian states, the Pakistani minister stressed over establishment of trade-corridor at the country’s western-side such as at Torkham. Pakistan has planned to establish Dera Ismail Khan, Zub, Quetta-Chaman route to access the Central Asian countries through Afghanistan, he said, adding that the route would play key role to improve trade ties with the regional countries.

“Pakistan is going to establish ports at Chaman and Torkham in order to strengthen economic and trade ties with Afghanistan and other regional countries,” he said.

Responding to concerns of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa business community over the depilated Peshawar-Torkham highway, the minister vowed to take up the issue in a meeting with the concerned officials. He also assured the traders of establishing Web Based One Customs system at Torkham to facilitate the traders.

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