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Afghanistan Sees Uzbekistan as Alternative to Pakistani Markets: ACCI

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(Last Updated On: January 2, 2018)

Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) says Uzbekistan markets could be an alternative to Pakistani markets for importing commercial products in the near future.

Officials at ACCI said on Tuesday that 50 percent of all commercial products which are being imported from Pakistan, could be found in Uzbek markets.

“Uzbekistan is geographically close to us and important in terms of transit,” said Khan Jan Alokozai, the Deputy Head of ACCI. “We are seeking to increase trade turnover to $1.5 billion with this country [Uzbekistan].”

Economic analysts believe, if the government improves its trade relations with Central Asian countries, particularly, with Uzbekistan, will be vital for the growth of Afghan economy. 

This comes as currently, the trade turnover between Kabul and Tashkent is about $400 million, and efforts are being underway to increase the figure up to $1.5 billion by the end of 2018.

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IEA delegation in Uzbekistan for talks on expanding economic ties

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2022)

Leading a delegation of officials, Acting Minister of Industry and Commerce Nooruddin Azizi left for Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, on Saturday and will meet with Uzbek authorities to discuss the expansion of trade, facilitating transit and solving problems of Afghan businessmen.

A number of businessmen and investors are also accompany Azizi on this trip. 

These businessmen say that they plan to discuss joint ventures with Uzbek businessmen.

While relations between Kabul and Tashkent have improved, the hope is that economic ties can be strengthened. 

According to Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce & Investment (ACCI) officials, the annual trade volume between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan totals $400 million but, they say, there is huge potential to expand these relations.

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Pakistan to issue six-month multiple entry visas to Afghan truck drivers

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed authorities to issue six-month multiple entry visas to truck drivers from Afghanistan, it was reported Wednesday.

Initially, multiple entry visas will be issued for a period of six months, and later it could be extended to period of one year, Pakistan’s The News reported.

Documents required with the visa application will include the applicant’s photograph, passport, registration as a transport company, and employment letter.

The move is aimed at promoting trade with Afghanistan.

Moreover, for the promotion of ease of doing business, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Board of Investment will link the online visa system with online payments.

“We need to remove all hurdles for Afghans in order to help them and to provide them a conducive environment to invest in Pakistan…,” Sharif said, noting that a policy in this regard would be formulated within two weeks.

This comes a day after Pakistan’s PM ordered import of coal from Afghanistan to be paid in rupees.

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IEA calls for release of frozen funds following deadly earthquake

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

Afghanistan’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has called on international governments to roll back sanctions and lift a freeze on central bank assets following the earthquake that killed more than 1,000 people and left thousands homeless.

The 6.1-magnitude quake that struck the east of the country early on Wednesday destroyed or damaged 10,000 homes and injured about 2,000 people.

“The Islamic Emirate is asking the world to give the Afghans their most basic right, which is their right to life and that is through lifting the sanctions and unfreezing our assets and also giving assistance,” Abdul Qahar Balkhi, foreign affairs ministry spokesman, told Reuters in an interview.

While humanitarian aid continues to flow to Afghanistan, funds needed for longer-term development were halted when the IEA seized control of the country in August 2021 as foreign forces withdrew.

Billions of U.S. dollars in Afghan central bank reserves remain frozen overseas and sanctions hamper the banking sector as the West pushes for concessions on human rights.

Western governments are particularly concerned about the rights of women and girls to work under IEArule.

Asked about the issue, Balkhi said Afghans’ right to life-saving funds should be the priority, adding that the international community handled concerns over human rights differently depending on the country involved.

“Is this rule universal? Because the United States just passed an anti-abortion law,” Balkhi said, referring to the Supreme Court’s overturning on Friday of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that recognised a woman’s right to an abortion.

“Sixteen countries in the world have taken away the rights of religious minorities, especially Muslims … are they also facing sanctions because they are violating rights?,” he asked.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said on Saturday the U.S. government was working on “complicated questions about the use of these (frozen central bank) funds to ensure they benefit the people of Afghanistan and not the Taliban (IEA).”

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