In talks held in the Afghan capital Kabul, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to increase bilateral trade, eliminate difficulties faced by traders in transit trade, facilitate the issuance of visas and ensure speedy clearance of trucks at the border, and bus service next month.
A statement from the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul said that both sides agreed to start bus service for passengers between Pakistan and Afghanistan next month.
The statement said the two countries agreed to make arrangements for border crossing more efficient and to remove obstacles to the speedy clearance of transit trade at the border.
According to the statement, steps are being taken to start a luxury bus service between Peshawar to Jalandhar and Quetta to Kandahar and efforts are being made to start the bus service by the end of August this year.
Pakistan had agreed to restore the ‘Dosti Bus Service’ suspended for 5 years between Pakistan and Afghanistan in November last year, but both countries could not start this service due to a lack of suitable transport companies.
According to the statement issued by the Pakistani Embassy, the Pakistani delegation headed by the Secretary for Commerce Muhammad Saleh Ahmed Farooqui visited from July 18 to 20.
The statement said that mutual transit trade has increased in the current financial year and this momentum needs to be maintained and further strengthened on a mutually beneficial basis.
According to official data, in the fiscal year 2021-22, the trade volume between the two countries was 1 billion 550 million dollars, Afghanistan exported 83.4 million dollars while Pakistan exported about 750 million dollars, thus the trade balance was in favor of Afghanistan.
The two countries agreed to implement the Temporary Entry Document (TAD) which would allow the free movement of bilateral commercial vehicles, thereby eliminating the need for loading and unloading of vehicles at the border and the two countries’ Trade can increase further.
Officials of the two countries also agreed to extend operational hours at all crossing points, particularly Torkham, Kharlachi (Karam Tribal District), Ghulam Khan (North Waziristan), and Chaman/Spin Boldak.
The heads of customs departments of the two countries agreed to work together and develop interlinked customs procedures and systems to improve efficiency in goods clearance.
The embassy further said that the difficulties in visa processing will be removed through mutual contact.
The statement said that the Pakistani delegation included representatives of all relevant ministries and departments to make concrete progress on these issues possible.
The Pakistani delegation held meetings with relevant ministers and senior officials of Afghanistan, including the Acting Minister for Commerce Nooruddin Azizi and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi.
According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, trade officials of Afghanistan and Pakistan held a meeting to discuss facilitating and strengthening trade, transit trade, transportation, and economic ties, Afghanistan’s official news agency Bakhtar said.
It was further informed that this meeting was held in Kabul in which acting Minister for Industry and Commerce Nooruddin Azizi and representatives of other sectors including Pakistan’s Secretary of Commerce participated.