LAHORE: President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik Tuesday said that Pak Afghan trading is picking at good pace as it swelled to 60 percent last week.
Talking to a delegation of exporters led by Syed Yawer Abbas Bahwalpuri he said it could be increased manifolds if old infrastructure is replaced with modern facilities of handling at all land border routes including Thorkham and Chaman for early scanning and clearing of goods from either sides. He stressed the urgent need of fast track resolution of all issues including removal of non tariff barriers impeding the smooth flow of bilateral trade besides further strengthening of economic ties with Afghanistan.
He lamented that Pakistan annual export to Afghanistan tumbled from $2 billion a couple of years ago to $700 millions.He said earlier Pakistan used to export upto 50,000 tonnes of cement and 100,000 tonnes of iron bars during last two year but not any more now because of odd and unrealistic policies of previous Afghan government.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said recently Pakistan prior to Taliban new regime suffered setback as its export to Afghanistan fell 5.5 percent from $790 millions to $746 millions during first nine months of last fiscal year mainly due to their unfriendly policies towards Pakistan. He said now the situation is altogether changed after Taliban and Pakistan traders, exporters and importers will extend whole hearted cooperation with their Afghan brothers and meet their demands on top priority.
He said Pakistan always attached great importance to Afghanistan and its people on the basis of religion and rich cultural heritage. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the all concerned authorities in Pakistan help facilitate quick clearing of goods at all land borders. He said SAARC chamber has also set up special cell in Pakistan for better coordination with Afghan traders and help address their problems if any on top priority.