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PESHAWAR: Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) director Ziaul Haq Sarhadi has expressed the hope that Prime Minister Imran Khan will give priority to improvement of bilateral trade with Afghanistan and put the issue on his agenda during his meeting with Afghan president Dr Ashraf Ghani in his first visit to the country.

In a statement issued here, he stressed the need that both Kabul and Islamabad should take concrete steps to increase trade volume to strengthen the economy in the region and overcome poverty and unemployment.

He said that Imran Khan had already expressed the resolve that he would take practical steps for promotion of bilateral trade relations and now it was time to materialise the agenda.

The chamber official said that due to hardships created in the wake of new Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement and policies of the governments of both countries the volume of bilateral trade had declined from $5 billion to $2.5 billion, which caused many problems for the business community on both sides.

Mr Sarhadi said that Imran Khan would be required to frame policies in consultations with the local stakeholders of Afghan transit trade and exporters to facilitate the business communities of both countries for promotion of Pakistani exports.

He urged the PM for convening a high-level meeting to remove loopholes in the existing transit trade agreement in consultations with the stakeholders. He said that till review of the agreement by the governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, the bilateral trade could not be enhanced.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2018