Pakistan opens Wagah border for Afghan transit trade from 15th

By: News Desk      Published: 01:09 PM, 13 Jul, 2020
Pakistan opens Wagah border for Afghan transit trade from 15th

In a major development towards fully restoring the Afghan transit trade, Pakistan on Monday decided to reopen the Wagah border for trading between Afghanistan and India with effect from July 15.

In this connection, Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq in a tweet said the move was aimed at facilitating Afghanistan’s transit trade.

He said Pakistan had decided to resume Afghan exports through Wagah border from 15 July after implementing COVID-19 related protocols. “We have already restored bilateral trade and Afghan transit trade at all border crossings,” Sadiq added.

In an earlier tweet, the special representative said that the Kharlachi crossing on Pakistan-Afghanistan border had been opened for traffic.

“We are moving ahead with promoting economic activity on both sides of the border. The COVID-19 SOPs are slowing us down a bit but our direction is right,” he said.

Earlier, traders and exporters of Pakistan and Afghanistan at a video-link conference identified bottlenecks in the way of Pak-Afghan mutual trade, transit trade and exports.

They termed the complicated regulations and procedures, strict policies and cumbersome goods clearing process the main reason behind the declining trade volume between the two countries.

The participants urged Islamabad and Kabul to make joint initiatives and efforts to remove hurdles in the way of bilateral trade, transit trade and export between the two neighbouring countries.

The speakers warned if the policies were not reviewed by Islamabad and Kabul, the bilateral trade volume would reduce from the current $1 billion to nil.

They said the outbreak of coronavirus had cost Pak-Afghan trade costly, so special relief in regulatory and custom duties should be announced for exporters and importers.

The speakers demand a review of the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement in consultation with the business community.

They complained about slow clearance of goods trucks and containers at Torkham, Chaman, Ghulam Khan and Kharlachi borders and slow scanning at Karachi Port due to a lack of facilities and said exporters had to pay extra demurrage and detention charges.