NNI

KABUL

Officials from the Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) have said that trade between the two neighbours has dropped by just over 40 percent in the past three months.

The officials believe that the recent souring of relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan is largely behind this development and said that Afghan businessmen in particular have reduced the number of products, particularly food that they import and are instead turning to other regional countries for supplies.

There are however other issues that have added to this decrease – issues that include transit problems, the worsening economy and the increase of Customs tariffs into the country, said officials, Tolo TV reported.

Last year Afghanistan and Pakistan’s trade volume totaled an estimated $9 billion – this year, however, projections are that this will top no more than $5 billion. Already, PAJCCI said the recent move has had a negative impact on factories in Pakistan and resulted in the closure of a number of such businesses in the neighboring country.

“Bad relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have caused this drop in trade between the two countries. Even a number of Pakistani investors have raised concerns over the issue,” deputy chairman of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) Khan Jan Alokozay said.

As an example, he said that three months ago, more than three tons of oil was being imported into Afghanistan from Pakistan. Today that figure has dropped to just two tons.