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Qureshi calls for early conclusion of Pak-Afghan talks on trade agreement

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(Last Updated On: March 20, 2021)

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi emphasised the need for talks between Pakistan and Afghanistan regarding Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) to be wrapped up as soon as possible.

According to Pakistan’s Foreign Office, Qureshi stated this during his telephonic conversation with his Afghan counterpart Haneef Atmar on Friday.

In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, the two ministers exchanged views on matters of mutual interest, including Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and the latest status of Afghan peace process.

“Reiterating Pakistan’s consistent support to the Afghan peace process, the Foreign Minister underlined that the Intra-Afghan Negotiations provided historic opportunity to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan.

“The Foreign Minister urged Afghan parties to work constructively for the shared objective of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. He underscored the need to remain cognizant of the challenges and impediments on the way, which could be overcome through patience, perseverance and persistence,” the statement read.

Qureshi also reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to facilitate all efforts for a negotiated political settlement and in this context also underlined the importance of exercising vigilance against the role of “spoilers,” read the statement.

In the bilateral context, the Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to forge closer cooperation with Afghanistan in all fields and underlined the importance of APAPPS as a vital platform to carry forward the bilateral cooperation on key tracks.

“The Foreign Minister also emphasized the need for early conclusion of talks relating to the APTTA (Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreemet.)

During the telephonic call, it added that views were exchanged on matters of mutual interest, including Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and latest status of Afghan peace process.

He underlined the importance of APAPPS as a vital platform to carry forward the bilateral cooperation on key tracks. The foreign minister also emphasized the need for early conclusion of talks relating to the APTTA (Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (.

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Carpet industry takes major knock as client base dries up

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2021)

Afghans working in the country’s renowned carpet industry say they fear for their future and that business has taken a hit following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) takeover.

“Carpet weavers should be supported and the carpet weaving industry should grow as well,” said weaver Najaf Ali Mejrayi, while pausing from his work on an intricate rug in the capital, Kabul.

Carpets are one of Afghanistan’s most well-known exports, having been exported around the world for centuries.

Manager of the Sadaat Weaving Company, Mohammad Qasim Ahmady, said his primary market used to be European countries and the U.S., with carpets making their way overseas through Pakistan. But now, he said the customer base has evaporated, while prices for materials such as wool are rising.

He used to have as many as 50 employees before the IEA takeover but now has only about half a dozen.

“This business is down and there is not much production,” he said.

Ghulam Wali Mirzaei, who does dyeing for the carpets, said his family’s wellbeing is at stake.

“If this company falls, all of the employees working here will be unemployed. We take care of our family needs only through this job,” he said.

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Pakistan’s customs agent says exports to Afghanistan dwindle

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

Hundreds of trucks lined the winding, mountainous road leading to Torkhum, the Pakistan-Afghan border crossing on Thursday.

Pakistani officials say that is because exports to Afghanistan have dwindled in the days after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) take over.

But some truck drivers were upbeat because they said the vegetable and fruit season in Afghanistan had helped increase exports of these items from the war-ravaged country.

Another Pakistani official at another Pakistan-Afghan border Chaman said trade had picked up because the IEA government had reduced taxes, and also put an end to bribes that traders and truck drivers had to pay to cross the border.

Afghan new government bolstered its economic team last week, naming a commerce minister and two deputies as the group tries to revive a financial system in shock from the abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Underlining the economic pressures building on Afghanistan’s new government, prices for staples like flour, fuel, and rice have risen and long queues are still forming outside banks as they strictly ration withdrawals.

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Motorists concerned about rising fuel prices in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 20, 2021)

Afghans have raised concerns over the increase in fuel prices on the local market, despite the resumption of fuel imports from neighboring countries.

Officials from Balkh’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment said last week that imports of fuel and gas through Hairatan and Aqina ports have resumed.

Motorists have however called on the Islamic Emirate to monitor and control market prices.

According to them, petrol currently costs 65 AFN per liter; diesel is 56 AFN; and gas costs between 72 and 80 AFN per kilogram in Kabul.

The Council of Fuel Merchants, however, says that limited access to cash and banking transactions, along with a monopoly of the industry by a few companies, are the key reasons for rising fuel prices.

Mohammad Asif, a member of the organization, stated: “If the Islamic Emirate wants to control the issue, they should control it at the [border] customs. Although [import] tariffs have been cut by 50%, prices are still high due to a monopoly of imports by some companies. They (merchants) set prices as they wish.”

Khan Jan Alokozay, Deputy Head of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment, stated: “The problem is that wholesalers have not set the market price, and when retailers distribute the goods to other areas that causes an increase in rates.”

People also called on property owners to reduce rental rates of houses in Kabul city, amid a looming economic crisis in Afghanistan.

Landlords, however, stated that the average rental has dropped by 50% compared to last year.

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