By: Shukria Kohistani
Officials for the Uzbek embassy to Kabul say trade level between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan will soon reach to $2 billion. According to the Uzbek officials, both countries are making effort to increase economic cooperation.
Meanwhile, a number of members of private sector of both Afghanistan and Pakistan in their recent meeting have stressed on increasing economic cooperation and relations between the two countries.
The Uzbek envoy to Kabul has made the revelation at a two-day conference titled ‘Afghan-Uzbek Commercial Connectivity’ in Kabul.
The conference was jointly organized by Uzbekistan Commercial Development Union and Afghanistan Constructional Companies Union and attended by representatives of the two countries and private sector.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan Ministry of Industry and Commerce says the government has provided necessary facilitations for foreign investment in the country where they can invest individually or in grouping in Afghanistan.
According to the country’s ministry of industry and commerce, Afghanistan commercial exchanges with Uzbekistan included 95 percent of imports and exports of goods from Afghanistan to the neighboring country.
A number of Afghan economists by pointing to importance of trade relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan say economic and trade relations have been existed between the two countries for long years. The current friendship bridge between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan is considered as one of the key corridors connecting Afghanistan with Central Asian countries particularly Uzbekistan.
The friendship bridge has key role in relations between the two countries. The bridge was closed during the Taliban regime, but it has now changed to one of the most significant routes for transiting trade goods between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
Recently, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan have agreed on expansion of trade relations, creating facilities in transiting trade goods, starting practical work on railway projects, transmission of power to Afghanistan, expansion of transportation corridors to Central Asian countries and creating joint working group between the two countries to work on technical and legal issues of the projects.
Previously, after meeting with Uzbek officials, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had informed that Uzbekistan would export electricity to Afghanistan in a very low price and the country was particularly interested in investment in the railway project of Afghanistan.
On the other hand, Afghanistan ministry of industry and commerce has informed of extension of APTA transit pact between Afghanistan and Pakistan for another three months. An agreement for extension of the transit pact has been signed by Nisar Ahmad Ghoriani, Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Abdul Razzaq Daud, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Pakistan’s Commerce.
According to Ghoriani, after the signing of the agreement, political matters would not impact trade and transit between the two neighbors. He said Afghanistan would previously export goods worth two billion dollar to Pakistan against the current $1.2 billion.
Sherzad Kaminzada, director of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Industries and Mines, said that if bilateral cooperation between the two countries increased, it would help regional progress. It is worth mentioning that Afghan national traders are complaining about the APTA agreement, saying that Pakistan is not abiding by it.