Pak-Afghan forum adopts 140 proposals to promote trade

Published October 28, 2020
Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser addresses the closing seminar of the two-day Pak-Afghan Trade and Investment Forum. — Photo courtesy NA of Pakistan Twitter
Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser addresses the closing seminar of the two-day Pak-Afghan Trade and Investment Forum. — Photo courtesy NA of Pakistan Twitter

ISLAMABAD: In a rare development, Pakistan and Afghanistan on Tuesday adopted more than 140 recommendations to promote bilateral trade and investments.

The two-day Pak-Afghan Trade and Investment Forum — which concluded on Tuesday — recommended the Pakistani government to allow five-year business and residence visa to all Afghans who are willing to start businesses in Pakistan. The Afghan side was led by Speaker Wolesi Jirga Mir Rehman Rahmani while Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser represented the Pakistani delegation.

The forum noted that business visa should grant a person legal rights such as opening of bank accounts, driving licence, ownership of property, it was recommended. In addition, Pakistan should consider allowing nationality to Afghans that invest a certain minimum amount in Pakistan’s manufacturing sector.

It was suggested that registration policies for Afghan companies be same as other international companies. Noting that double taxation discourages investments, the meeting noted that tax policies in both countries should be revised and new tax treaties be signed.

It simply appears that deliberations with the Afghan side were held in a detailed and micro-level after a long time, reflecting seriousness of the Pakistani side to promote trading relations with the neighbouring country.

The Committee to Review Transit Trade Regime came up with a 44 recommendations. It said that politics should not affect bilateral trade between two countries. Most of the recommendations relate to further facilitating people involved in transit trade, improving infrastructure and reduce dwelling time of cargo from port to border stations.

It was recommended that Pakistani trucks must be allowed to move up-to the Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenis­­tan border. Similarly, Afghan trucks and vehicles should be allowed to move to Wagah border and Karachi ports.

Pakistan’s foreign mission in Jalalabad should be requested to issue road passes for uninterrupted flow of trucks and vehicles. The time limit should be increased for Pakistani trucks and cargo for crossing Afghanistan and unloading on the boarder of Tajikistan.

Branches of joint chambers of commerce should be developed at Torkham and Chaman borders in order to facilitate chamber-to-chamber relations.

Currently, there are two Afghan items on Pakistan’s negative items list — auto parts and cigarettes — which should be removed from the list, the forum said.

The Committee on Trade and In­­vestment Opportunities in Manu­facturing Sector evolved 39 recommendations, with focus on doing away with discriminatory policies between the two countries to promote investments.

Investment MOUs between Pakistan and Afghanistan for micro, small and medium enterprises should be promoted. It was recommended that security be ensured for the business community as well as skilled and unskilled labour on both sides.

The committee said that there was a need to improve trade facilitation through streamlined payments settlement and insurance mechanisms, use of bonded carriers, visa issuance, trade financing, tax collection, and documentation. Specifically, there must be internationally acceptable mode of payments.

To develop better banking channels between the two countries, the State Bank of Pakistan was urged to ease opening of bank accounts for Afghanistan businessmen, traders. Mutual facilitation of Pakistani and Afghan investors to be expedited vis-à-vis the boards of investment of both countries.

The Committee on Trade and Investment Opportunities in Agriculture, Food, Livestock and Minerals came up with 19 recommendations.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2020

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Saudi investment
Updated 10 Apr, 2024

Saudi investment

The state has to address barriers that stand in the way of attracting foreign investment, and create a pro-business environment.
Charity for change
Updated 11 Apr, 2024

Charity for change

PAKISTANIS are large-hearted people who empty their pockets at the slightest hint of another’s need. The Stanford...
World Bank’s advice
Updated 09 Apr, 2024

World Bank’s advice

The next IMF programme will be far tougher than any other Pakistan has embarked on in the past.
Middle East heat
09 Apr, 2024

Middle East heat

America must communicate to Israel that further provocations, particularly targeting sovereign states, will be unacceptable.
Killing fields
09 Apr, 2024

Killing fields

PERHAPS rankled by the daily flood of grisly news — murders, armed robberies, muggings and kidnappings — and...