ISLAMABAD: Afghan Minister for Commerce and Industries Nisar Ahmad Ghoryani said that Afghanistan would like to achieve maximum benefit of the opportunity of trade and investment due to establishment of the Rashakai Economic Zone in Peshawar under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The minister said that 80 percent negotiations on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Pakistan had been done, and he was confident that the same would be signed soon.

The minister expressed these views in a meeting with Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar at the Parliament House on Wednesday.

The Afghan minister said that his government was committed to boost trade cooperation for a long-lasting mutually-beneficial relationship.

He welcomed the offer of the speaker for participation in the CPEC and Rashakai Economic Zone, and said that Afghanistan would like to achieve maximum benefit of the opportunity of the CPEC and establishment of Special Industrial Zones in Pakistan.

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He said that people across the borders had multiple affinities which tie them with each other.

He praised Speaker Asad Qaiser for his role in mounting strong linkages for mutually-beneficial trade relations with Afghanistan.

He said that Afghanistan acknowledged Pakistan’s support for Afghan peace process and would seek support in future too.

He said that Trade and Investment Forum Seminar in October this year was a success, and suggested for holding of such moots in Peshawar, Quetta and other provincial capitals of Pakistan.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar said that early conclusion of negotiation of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) would open new avenues of cooperation between both brotherly countries.

He stressed the need to inbuilt the elements in the trade agreements which were facilitative of trade.

He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game changer not only for Pakistan but the entire region.

He offered Afghan investors to take part in CPEC economic activity besides investment in Rashakai Special Economic Zone to start its functions soon.

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The speaker remarked that economic cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan and improved trade and transit facilities would help to connect Central Asia and beyond.

He proposed establishment of border entry point for trade at Wakhan Border which would open gates to Central Asia.

“The Wakhan Corridor is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan, extending to China and separating Tajikistan from Pakistan.”

He also asked the Afghan minister to take note for removal of unnecessary check points inside Afghanistan, and extortion of money from traders by Afghan officials.

The Afghan minister said that his government would take notice of it and address it.

While talking to the Afghan minister, the Speaker, Asad Qaiser, said that after eliminating trade barriers along with facilitating traders had not only enhanced the trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan but was also greatly contributing to poverty eradication and social uplift.

He said that Pakistan’s reiterates its support for Afghan peace process and Intra-Afghan negotiations for an enduring peace in Afghanistan and the region.

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He said that Pakistan always desires of harmonious relations with its neighbors, however, our eastern neighbor had always attempted to destabilise Pakistan.

He said that illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and atrocities being committed on innocent Kashmiri were sheer violation of norms of humanity and international law.

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