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Pakistan, Afghanistan allow free movement of trucks to enhance transit trade

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to allow free movement of each other’s trucks carrying trade cargo between the two countries from March 21 on Temporary Admission Documents (TAD).

Abdul Razak Dawood, adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment on his official said on twitters account “We have finally done it! Historical development on regional connectivity front!.”

“We wish to share that Pakistan and Afghanistan have allowed free movement of each other’s trucks between the two countries and cross stuffing w.e.f. 21 March 2022 via TAD,” Dawood said Afghan transporters can obtain TAD from Pakistan embassy at Kabul and consulate in Kandahar, while transporters from Pakistan can obtain TAD from consulates in Peshawar and Quetta.

“This is a historic development and will go a long way in enhancing our connectivity and trade relations with Afghanistan, Central Asia, and beyond.”

Along with the Tokham crossing near Peshawar, Chaman is one of the main trade routes between Afghanistan and Pakistan, providing huge economic activity between the two countries.

Pakistan had already waivers duty and taxes on fresh and dry fruits, vegetables, and several other Afghan products since the Taliban took over Afghanistan. Pakistan has also expanded the list of essential items exports in rupee to Afghanistan to meet domestic demands. Advisor said huge facilitation in truck movements is expected to increase bilateral trade especially imports from Afghanistan.

Exports from Pakistan to Afghanistan have declined from $517.24 million in the first half-year of the fiscal year 2021 to $328.25 million during July-December of the current fiscal year. However, imports post a substantial growth during the months under review.

The advisor said geographical diversification and enhancing regional trade and connectivity are major pillars of the government’s ‘Strategic Trade Policy Framework’.

“We have put in place (Look Africa and Silk Reconnect” policy initiatives for Africa and Central Asian Republics respectively,” Dawood said

He informed that during July-February 2022, Pakistan’s exports to Central Asia grew by 135 percent from $72.5 million to $172.5 million in the same period of last year. Similarly, Pakistan’s exports to Africa increased by 16 percent from July to February 2022 and stood at $1.033 billion from $$0.892 billion during the corresponding period last year.

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