Peshawar             -          Traders and exporters of Pakistan and Afghanistan through a video link conference, while pinpointing the bottleneck in the way of Pak-Afghan trade and transit trade and export, said that complicated regulations and procedures, strict policies and awkward goods clearing process were main reasons behind the declining of mutual trade volume between the two countries.

“Paying not heed toward resolution of issues of the business community on both sides of the border is not in the interest of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Regulatory duties, unnecessary and double taxation should be revised,” the Pak-Afghan traders said while exchanging views in a joint video link conference organized by USAID – Pakistan Regional Economic Integration Activity (PREIA) in collaboration with Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here at the chamber house on Thursday.

The participants called upon Islamabad and Kabul to make joint efforts to remove hurdles in the way of bilateral trade, transit trade and export between the two neighbouring countries. They said that a lot of potential existed in Afghanistan market, which should be availed to meet the mutual trade target of $5billion.

The joint conference was chaired by SCCI president Maqsood Anwar while the chamber senior vice president, Shahid Hussain performed as moderator. Besides, the SCCI Pak-Afghan Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry former senior vice president, and Frontier Customs Agents’ Association president, Ziaul Haq, PAJCCI Pakistan chapter chairman, Zubair Motiwala, secretary general Ms Faiza, PAJCCI Afghanistan chapter chairman, Khan Jan Alokozay, Younis Mohmand from Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representative of Kandahar chamber, Haji Daud, former FPCCI president Daroo Khan Achakzai, representative of PREIA, Salman Farooq, office bearers of Chaman, Kabul, Jalalabad and Kahandar chambers of Commerce and Industry, Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pak-Afghan transporters, representatives of business community from both the countries took part in the conference and pointed out hindrance in the way of Pak-Afghan trade, transit trade and export.

The speakers said that bilateral trade volume had declined because of complicated regulations and procedures, strict policies and cumbersome goods clearing process at ports and borders that had heightened the problems of traders, exporters and importers on both sides of the border.

The Pak-Afghan traders also talked about the snail pace clearance process of goods trucks/containers at Torkham, Chaman, Ghulam Khan, Kharlachi borders as well as scanning process at Karachi Port due to inadequate and insufficient facilities.

The participants agreed to forward their suggestions and recommendations through USAID PRIEA to both the governments, concerned ministries, departments in order to resolve traders’ issues on both sides of the border.