ISLAMABAD: A protocol was signed here on Thursday to give a three-month extension to Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) 2010 to continue the facility for the landlocked country.
Both countries have already exchanged drafts for the revision of the APTTA, which is yet to be finalised. Both sides expressed satisfaction over the extension of the agreement and decided that technical teams from the two countries would conclude the revised agreement soon.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood and Afghan Minister of Industry and Commerce Nisar Ahmad Ghoriyani signed the protocol on behalf of their respective countries.
The signing ceremony was held via video link simultaneously in Kabul and Islamabad. Commerce Secretary of Pakistan Sualeh Ahmad Faruqui was present on the occasion. Representatives of both embassies in the two capitals also attended the signing ceremony.
According to an official announcement, Mr Dawood said that trade and economic relations with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs) would make Pakistan a hub for trade, transit and transshipment.
“Our trade must be based on secure, open, consistent, reliable and legal movement of goods at the Afghan border along with enhanced connectivity with Afghanistan and CARs,” he said.
Mr Dawood said that this was a long-term vision and through “our current engagement with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, Pakistan is laying down the foundation for its implementation”. “This will ensure that Pakistan leverages its geo-economic location in the region to enhance its international trade. Our discussions with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are a step in this direction,” the adviser to the PM said.
Meanwhile, in a meeting with Afghan Ambassador Najeebullah Ali Khel, Speaker of National Assembly Asad Qaiser said that peace in Afghanistan was imperative for regional economic development and connectivity.
He said that peace would ensure prosperity in Afghanistan and the region, adding that that Pakistan would stand firm with an indigenous Afghan-owned peace process.
During the meeting, Pak-Afghan relations and the political situation in the region and issues of mutual interest also came under discussion.
Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2021