Pakistan, Afghanistan to increase trade to $5 billion till 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan Monday agreed on connecting different cities of the two countries through roads and rail and to increase trade volume to five billion dollars till 2017.
Addressing a joint press conference along with his Afghan counterpart, Eklil Ahmad Hakimi , after 10th meeting of joint economic commission, the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stressed the need for ensuring implementation of decisions taken between Pakistan and Afghanistan for betterment of both the countries.
Finance Minister said most of the decisions taken during the last Joint Economic Commission and during the visit of Afghan President, have been implemented. However, he said, there are some decisions that need to be implemented on fast track.
Finance Minister said serious efforts are needed to achieve the declared trade volume of five billion dollars till 2017. He said facilitation is issuance of visas to businessmen is necessary for promotion of trade between the two countries.
Ishaq Dar said there is progress on Pak-Afghan Transit Trade. He said Pakistan is waiting Afghan response of Preferential Trade Agreement. He urged the Afghan side to expedite the process of activation of Joint Business Council so that its meeting will be held at the earliest.
He said it will help facilitate investors of both the countries in a big way. He said peace and prosperity is equally important for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan is implementing different development projects in Afghanistan. He said work on Torkhum-Jalalabad highway is going on and will be completed by December next year.
Ishaq Dar said hostel in Rehman Baba School comprising one thousand rooms will be completed in the mid of next year with the financial assistance of Pakistan.
The Finance Minister said educational scholarships to over two thousand Afghan students have been awarded in different disciplines.
The minister said that Pakistan supported Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace process, adding that the peace in both countries is interlinked. He said that Pakistan would also support peace process in Afghanistan for restoration of peace and elimination of terrorism from the region.
The meeting discussed projects relating to trade, energy, railways and roads. The Commission considered to link Chaman with Kandahar and Peshawar with Jalalabad through rail. It also exchanged views to increase trade volume between the two countries.
Afghan minister said that President Ghani shares the Nawaz Sharif’s vision of economic development of the region through regional connectivity. 


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