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Pakistan, Afghanistan to sign PTA to boost bilateral trade

Pakistan, Afghanistan to sign PTA to boost bilateral trade

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Adviser on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood has said that Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to start the process of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) to boost bilateral trade to an unprecedented level.

He said at the first instances both sides will share their initial list of tariff lines next month which will be followed by meetings of technical committees, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce.

This understanding was reached in a meeting with Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Shukurallah Atif Mashaal who called on the adviser to deliberate on the trade related issues on Wednesday.

Both sides discussed to reopen new border crossing points including that of Torkham and Ghulam Khan. Country’s imports contract 18pc while exports jump 14pc in July

The adviser stressed on the need to explore opportunities to maximise trade volume and move forward for trade cooperation via communication and customs cooperation.

He said that during the visit of Afghanistan President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani both sides discussed the issues of bilateral transit trade and the two sides also expressed willingness to increase the volume of bilateral trade. The adviser will visit Kabul this month to finalise the understanding on different trade and economic issues, the release added.

He also said that it was very important to address issues pertaining to transit trade agreement. “Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement should be implemented in letter and spirit,” Razak said.

“We are looking how to improve the model for increasing the transit trade with Afghanistan alike many countries including Nepal and Bhutan and also land locked countries as they had good trade relations with regional countries.” he observed.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference separately at Commerce Ministry, the adviser said that the country’s exports increased by 14.23 per cent in the first month of this fiscal year over the same month last year. Replying to a question, he said that China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA), comprehensive tariff policy, reforms in National Tariff Commission (NTC) and increase in exports were the major hallmarks of his ministry in first year of this government.

The exports increased to $1.87 billion in July from $1.636bn in same month last year, while imports recorded a decline of 18.39pc, the adviser said.

The adviser said rice exports registered a 71pc, ready-made garments 17pc, home textiles 14pc, plastic goods 34pc, chemicals 26pc, mangoes 33pc and footwear 24pc during the month.