World Bulletin / News Desk
Pakistan and Afghanistan are losing out on the huge potential for trade due to fraught diplomatic relations and poor connectivity, according to traders and experts, who urged radical measures to rectify the situation.
Trade between the two countries currently stands at $1.5 billion compared with $2.5 billion in 2015.
Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries Chairman Zubair Motiwala told Anadolu Agency: “Fortunately, there is a huge trade potential between the two brotherly countries as Afghanistan being a landlocked country, heavily depends on Pakistan.
“But, unfortunately, we are not exploiting this potential.”
The actual trade potential between the two countries, according to Motiwala, is over $10 billion but because of multiple hurdles, which are very much addressable, bilateral trade -- documented and undocumented -- is not more than $4 billion.
Government and independent estimates suggest that cross border or undocumented trade between the two neighbors is around $2.5 billion.
The first and foremost step, Motiwala suggested, is to build trust between Kabul and Islamabad.
"Lack of trust, which is at highest level in recent decades, has crumbled the bilateral trade," he added.
Rationalization of customs duty is another step, which could boost depreciating trade between the two neighbors, he said.
“I have personally told President Ashraf Ghani during a recent meeting that irrational customs duties are badly affecting trade between the two countries, which need to be addressed.
“He [Ghani] agreed to my suggestion and a committee representing both sides was formed to address the issue, but said know what, not even a single meeting of that committee has so far been held,” he maintained.Last Mod: 01 Kasım 2017, 11:33