ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday finalized the dates of the 10th Pak-Afghan Joint Economic Commission meeting as 26th-27th of August, 2015.

Ambassador of Afghanistan, Janan Mosazai and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar finalized the date of the joint economic commission meeting. The meeting would be held at Islamabad where the Afghanistan side would be led by Finance Minister Eklil Ahmad Hakimi while Ishaq Dar would head the Pakistan side.

Ishaq Dar informed the Afghan envoy that the Pakistan side had already undertaken preparatory work and directed Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) to review in detail, progress on different projects and ascertain implementation status of decisions taken during the last JEC held in November 2014. Finance Minister also proposed technical level meeting of Pak-Afghan officials prior to the formal meeting between the two Finance Ministers.

The Afghan envoy at this juncture informed the minister that notification about waiver of financial guarantee of 110% custom duty as well as $100 per 25 ton charges on Pakistani goods transiting through Afghanistan to Central Asian states had been issued. Minister Ishaq Dar welcomed issuance of the notification and said it would help enhance Pakistan’s trade with the Central Asian states.

Ambassador Janan Mosazai expressed gratitude of the Afghanistan side on excellent progress on the Jalalabad - Torkham road project and conveyed to Minister Dar, appreciation from the Governor of Nangarhar province for his efforts to speed up the project.

Finance Minister at the end of the meeting conveyed through the Afghan envoy his good wishes to his Afghan counterpart, Mr Hakimi and said that he looked forward to the Joint Economic Commission meeting which would further enhance economic cooperation between the two countries.

Pak-Belarus joint economic commission meeting: Pakistan-Belarus Joint Economic Commission meeting would be held in the first week of August, which would strengthen the trade relations between two counties. Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir would head the Pakistani delegation in the Joint Economic Commission meeting. Board of Investment Chairman Miftah Ismail and prominent businessmen of the country will also accompany the minister during his visit.

According to a press statement of the Commerce Ministry, the minister during his visit will negotiate tariff reduction on several Pakistani export items, which face high tariffs compared to international standards. Export items such as rice, garments, home textiles, sports goods and footwear have a substantial market in Belarus but are hindered by comparatively higher tariffs.

Pakistan is the largest exporter of rice to Belarus, which is a landlocked country, and the export commodities make way to Belarus either through the German port of Hamburg or through the Latvian ports. Proposals for opening of new air trade routes for perishable items will also be discussed in the meeting.