Kabul, 21 July 2022 (TDI): Pakistan’s delegation led by Secretary of Commerce, Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed Faruqi, visited Afghanistan from July 18–20, 2022, for bilateral talks.

The visit’s main goal was to discuss mutual actions for increasing bilateral trade between the two countries.

The Pakistan delegation was comprised of representatives of all relevant ministries and departments of trade.

Other ministries related to economic interaction, transit, commercial exchanges, and enhancing facilitation at all border crossing sites were in attendance.

The delegation also held meetings with ministers and senior officials from various Afghanistan ministries. These include the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs.

The purpose of the visit was to discuss how the two sides could work together to improve bilateral relations.

As a result, the two countries discussed necessary trade facilitation measures to address the practical problems and impediments faced by importers, exporters, traders, and businessmen from both sides.

Substantive measures to foster positive progress

During the meeting, the parties came to an understanding that bilateral trade and transit had increased during the current fiscal year.

They emphasized the necessity to sustain and develop the momentum in a way that it further strengthens on a mutually beneficial basis.

Furthermore, they reached a decision to increase the efficiency of border crossing points. This is to guarantee prompt clearance of trade and transit traffic. Additionally, it prioritizes resolving bottlenecks and impediments.

To further boost trade between the two countries, the two sides agreed to implement the Temporary Admission Document (TAD).

This would permit free movement of bilateral trade vehicles. This would also prevent loading and unloading of cargo at the border crossing sites.

In light of this, the relevant authorities on both sides concurred to increase the operational timings at all crossing points. This is particularly true of Torkham, Kharlachi, Ghulam Khan, and Chaman/Spin Boldak.

Besides, the heads of the customs departments decided to collaborate and evolve mutually connected customs procedures and systems to maximize the effectiveness of goods clearance.

The two sides pledged to put up every possible effort to inaugurate a luxury bus service between Quetta and Kandahar. It also covers Peshawar and Jalalabad by the end of August this year.

In this context, it was decided that mutual coordination would be used to overcome the challenges associated with visa processing.

Moreover, the two parties underlined their commitment to maintaining regular coordination for the implementation of these measures. They also underscored the need to boost economic cooperation as well.