Pak-Afghan PTA to be finalized by end of January 2021: Dawood

ISLAMABAD, Nov 18 (APP): Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Wednesday said the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Afghanistan would be finalized by the end of January, 2021.

Similarly, he said, the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) would also hopefully be signed in the last week of January next year as the investment-related matters between the two countries would be resolved in the recent bilateral dialogue in Kabul.

The government would hold extensive meetings with all the stakeholders in the coming days in that regard, the advisor said in a statement.

Razak Dawood said in the post COVID-19 pandemic scenario, tremendous opportunities existed and “I hope that our businessmen will realize them”.

He said during the recent visit to Afghanistan for bilateral trade negotiation for the conclusion of PTA and on APTTA, he held an extensive round of discussions with the officials concerned in Afghanistan and one-on-one meeting with President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul.

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Pakistan and Afghanistan have initiated the discussions on bilateral trade, Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and investment-related matters between the two countries.

Advisor Razak Dawood led an official delegation to Afghanistan from  November 16-17 in that regard. It was preceded by last month’s visit by Afghanistan’s acting Minister of Industry and Commerce Nisar Ahmad Ghoriani, to Pakistan.

Apart from the Adviser on Commerce, the delegation included high-level officials from the ministries of Commerce and Maritime, Federal Board of Revenue (Customs) and State Bank of Pakistan.

The adviser met a number of dignitaries representing a cross-section of Afghan government.

He also called on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to trade and economic integration.

He also met Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) and thanked him for his support.

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He also called on the Speaker of Da Afghan Wolesi Jirga and the Governor of Da Afghanistan Bank.

The 7th Meeting of the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Cooperation Authority (APTTCA) was held in Kabul after a break of more than four years.

During the official talks, extensive and fruitful deliberations were held on the whole spectrum of bilateral trade and investment relations including formalizing the informal cross-border trade.

The adviser hoped that the visit would mark the beginning of a new era of trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. It would hopefully lead to integration of the two economies and move the bilateral trade to a more formal and documented arrangement, he added.

The deepening of trade and Investment relations between the two countries would also enhance Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan and beyond to the Central Asian countries, he said.