Trade with Afghanistan via Torkham has doubled in recent months – Pakistan

KHYBER: Commercial activities have surged at the Torkham crossing point here in recent months amid a decline in pedestrian movement across the border point due to strict enforcement of the arrangement system individual volunteer.

Sources at the Torkham border told Dawn that Pak-Afghan trade had doubled in the past three months and was likely to increase further in the coming months to the relief of the business community, which had suffered losses. since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last August.

They said the number of vehicles transporting Pakistani goods to Afghanistan via Torkham dropped to just 80 vehicles soon after Kabul fell to the Taliban.

Exporter and clearing agent Mujeebullah Shinwari insisted that Pakistan had set strict conditions for trade with Afghanistan, particularly by doing so only in US dollars, which severely affected exports to and from imports from Afghanistan.

Exporters say hard times are over for them

He told Dawn that the troubled times were over and things were on the right track for the businessmen to reconnect with their contacts in Afghanistan.

Shinwari said most local exporters and importers have seen an improvement in Pakistan-Afghan trade, with the government providing them with much-needed alternative means to overcome the difficulties they have been facing since August last year.

He said tough bank deposit and remittance conditions for importers had been removed, while exporters were allowed to continue purchasing some important items in Pakistani currency.

The exporter said the measures had boosted exports, bringing the number of loaded vehicles leaving Pakistan for Afghanistan to nearly 250 a day and 300 on some days.

Iblan Ali, another customs broker, said construction materials topped the list of exported goods, followed by edibles.

He added that cement, paint, bathroom accessories, hardware, clothes, shoes and other goods were exported in large quantities to Afghanistan.

The clearance agent also said that edible oil and ghee, rice, dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables have high demand in Afghanistan and are exported in large quantities.

Mussawir Khan, a young coal importer in Torkham, said he was optimistic about an increase in imports of coal and soapstone from Afghanistan in recent months and said 250 to 300 trucks or containers carrying the two minerals reached daily Pakistan via the Torkham border.

He said while dried fruits were also imported in small quantities during the current months of the year, fresh Afghan fruits and vegetables would start arriving during the peak summer months to boost bilateral trade.

The importer said improved Pakistan-Afghan trade more than offset the losses suffered by businessmen in the first three to four months of the formation of the Taliban government in Kabul.

Torkham customs officials confirmed an increase in the country’s business with Afghanistan and said the government wanted to provide additional assistance to locals and Afghans.

They said Pakistan’s exports to Central Asian states through Torkham were also underway under the International Trade Route Agreement and about 100 trucks and containers loaded with Pakistani goods had left for these states over the past 10 to 12 months.

Officials said trade with Central Asian states will gain momentum this summer due to the closure of some roads in winter due to snowfall.

They said rice, medicines, sports gear and equipment, and leather products were exported to the CAR, while medicines and cotton-related items were imported from there.

Posted in Dawn, April 23, 2022

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