Pakistan - Afghanistan bilateral trade reduces drastically

Pakistan - Afghanistan bilateral trade reduces drastically

PESHAWAR - Trade between the two countries Pakistan and Afghanistan has reduced through the Torkham port by 40 percent last year.

Four years back, commercial deals between Afghanistan and Pakistan amounted to $2 billion compared with $500 million. Truckers said they waited for days to find customers.

A border security official in Torkham, who wished to go unnamed, told Pajhwok up to 500 trucks loaded with goods entered Afghanistan on a daily basis a few months ago. But now the number has dropped to less than 300 trucks.

He said that sugar, flour and cement were the main imports from Pakistan. A few trucks of fresh fruits, vegetables and other goods were also imported into landlocked Afghanistan.

He added exports from Afghanistan through the port too had witnessed a fall. Currently, only slate, coal and a fewer truckloads of other items were exported to the neighbouring country.

Truckers say they had three to four trips weekly but now they have to be content with one or two trips. Samiullah, who transports cement from Pakistan to Afghanistan, could hardly find a customer in a week or two.

Nangarhar Chamber of Commerce and Industry officials say business between the two countries have worsened.

Shakirullah Safi, spokesman for the chamber, told Pajhwok the trade volume between Afghanistan and Pakistan was $2 billion four years ago. Now the amount has come down to $700 million.

He added the trade volume had further decreased in recent past to about $500 million.

The ACCI says Pakistan has asked for phytosanitary certificates from Afghan traders. However, he complained, Pakistan did not provide such certificates for its own products.

Khan Jan Alokozai, the ACCI deputy head, had told a press conference that Pakistan had imposed conditions on Afghan exports to that country over the last five months.

He warned Afghan farmers, who crops were going to ripen, would face serious problems over the next two months if the problem was not resolved.

Afghanistan exported 1.2 million metric tonness of agricultural products, including 800 tonnes to Pakistan, Alokozai said.

The deputy head of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce, Daru Khan Achakzai, on Monday said tensions between the two countries and lack of reconstruction <link>activities in Afghanistan had caused a decline in bilateral trade.

He said cement exports from Pakistan to Afghanistan had gone down because of limited reconstruction schemes in the war-torn country.

Bilateral tensions and problems the Afghan traders faced in the Pakistan have forced Afghan businessmen to open new corridors with Iran, Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries.