Malik For Enhancing Trade Among SAARC Members Especially Afghanistan

Malik for enhancing trade among SAARC members especially Afghanistan

LAHORE, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th Sep, 2021 ) :South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation-Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC-CCI) President Iftikhar Ali Malik Sunday stressed the need for taping the potentials of regional economic cooperation and integration to boost trade among SAARC members countries, especially with Afghanistan at this critical juncture.

He mentioned that inter-regional trade in South Asia was less than one third of its potential, which indicates 67 per cent of trade was not being fully exploited.

Talking to a traders' delegation led by Muhammad Saddique Kamboh here on Sunday, he said that in the current scenario, role of Afghanistan as a bridge between Central Asia, middle East and South Asia needed to be reviewed with Primary focus on promotion of trade and investment.

"Afghanistan was a viable doorway to South Asian countries for direct access to oil and gas rich republics of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Better trade ties would help promote economic growth and alleviate poverty in the region especially in Afghanistan thus enhancing its cross border and transit trade with neighbouring countries," he maintained.

He was of the view that poor trade facilitation at borders and prevalence of a variety of non-tariff barriers were hampering promotion of trade with Afghanistan. He suggested for up-gradation and strengthening of existing facilitation at the Pak-Afghan borders besides, consolidation of initiatives taken by new regime of Taliban.

Malik said that after Iran and China, Pakistan was the third largest trading partner of Afghanistan, which exports cement, pharmaceuticals products, sulphur, stone, plaster, peel of citrus fruit, melon, vegetable fats, edible and oil etc. While, Afghanistan main exports are carpets and rugs, dry fruit and medicinal plants etc. He said main export partners of Afghanistan are Pakistan 48 per cent, India 19 per cent and Russia 9 per cent, and Iran, Iraq and Turkey 24 per cent.