Gwadar port to boost Pakistan-Afghanistan trade: Envoy

Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Atif Mashal said Islamabad’s decision to allow Afghan traders to import goods via the Gwadar port in Balochistan province will boost bilateral trade and transit ties between the two countries.

Mashal’s comments on Friday came following the arrival of a cargo ship, carrying 16,000 tonnes urea for transit to Afghanistan at the Gwadar port, reports Xinhua news agency.

Pakistan last month announced to allow import of the Afghan bulk cargo of wheat, sugar and fertilizers at the Gwadar port and onward transit to Afghanistan in sealable trucks, instead of being limited to containers.

“For the first time, bagging will be done locally instead of foreign ports. Urea will be bagged and shipped on trucks to Afghanistan at Gwadar, which will generate employment for the locals. Instructions have already been passed to allocate all labor jobs to local population,” Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor to Pakistani Prime Mnister on commerce, textile, industry and production, and investment, tweeted on Friday.

In response, the Afghan Ambassador welcomed Pakistan’s decision.

“This will certainly have a positive impact on Afghanistan-Pakistan trade and transit ties. We must extend support to each other for revival of commerce and connectivity in Central and South Asia that will surely benefit people in the region,” Mashal said in a tweet.

Pakistan announced in October 2019 to open the Gwadar port for the Afghan transit trade as the trade related infrastructure at the port was already to handle bulk cargoes to and from Afghanistan.

The first ship carrying containers for Afghan transit trade arrived at the Gwadar port on January 14.

Pakistan and Afghanistan had signed a transit trade agreement in 1965 that was revised in 2010, which calls for better facilitation in the movement of goods between the two countries.

Afghan traders would previously use ports in Karachi for import under the transit trade agreement.

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