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USAID facilitates trade between Pakistan and Uzbekistan via Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with TCS Logistics in Pakistan, has successfully carried out a trial shipment of herbal medicines to Uzbekistan, from Karachi in Pakistan, via Afghanistan.

The shipment left Karachi on April 29 and arrived in Tashkent on Tuesday, the US Embassy in Uzbekistan said in a statement.

The pilot shipment was inline with the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Convention, a customs agreement that facilitates the international transport of goods.

The pilot is the first in a series of five planned trial runs to the countries of Central Asia through Afghanistan and China aimed at testing the viability of various routes for international transit to Central Asia and beyond under the TIR Convention.

The successful execution of the first pilot to Tashkent will build confidence among traders and transport operators from both sides to adopt TIR for cross border trade and transit and boost regional trade integration and connectivity, the statement read.

Officials at the Afghan Ministry of Industry and Trade said Thursday that for the first time, a commercial shipment of Pakistani health products arrived in Uzbekistan from Afghanistan in accordance with the TIR.

According to officials this is also in line with the Afghan government’s attempts to improve relations with neighboring countries.

Members of Afghanistan’s private sector have welcomed the move, calling for stronger trade ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

They express the hope that they will be able to transport their commercial goods to Central Asia through the TIR system.

Technical and financial support for the initiative has been provided by USAID through its Pakistan Regional Economic Integration activity in support of its ongoing assistance to Pakistan for streamlining TIR operations to enhance trade connectivity.

Additional support in destination countries for the execution of these pilots is being provided by the Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs, another USAID-funded activity in Central Asia.

TCS Logistics is a leading Pakistani company providing courier, logistics and e-commerce services to the corporate sector, SMEs, and individual households both nationally and internationally.

It is the only logistics operator to date that has been licensed to carry out TIR operations by the Pakistan National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce under the authorization of the International Road Transport Union.

The TIR Convention was signed in 1975 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Pakistan acceded to the TIR Convention on July 24, 2015 and was declared as a ‘TIR operational country’ by the IRU on April 19, 2018. TIR is widely used for international transit of goods in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and is being rapidly adopted in Afghanistan and Central Asian countries which are all contracting parties to the Convention, the US Embassy stated.

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Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to sign marble export agreement

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(Last Updated On: June 6, 2021)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, have discussed Afghanistan exporting marble to Turkmenistan.

In a statement issued by the Afghan foreign ministry, MoFA said the Afghan delegation provided comprehensive information to their Turkmen counterparts on the various natural resources and rare stones available in Afghanistan.

The Afghan delegation said the export of the resources would be significant in strengthening and expanding trade between Kabul and Ashgabat.

Highlighting development taking place and the construction around building new cities in Turkmenistan, the Turkmen delegation discussed their requirement for marble and expressed Turkmenistan’s full readiness to procure marble from Afghanistan.

The two sides agreed to sign an agreement on Afghanistan’s marble export to Turkmenistan.

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Parliament ratifies Iran, Afghanistan rail cooperation agreement

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(Last Updated On: May 31, 2021)

Iran’s Parliament on Monday passed Iran-Afghanistan Rail Cooperation Agreement that allows rail connection between the neighboring countries.

Iran and Afghanistan agreed to make direct connection through railroad to transfer passengers and goods.

According to the agreement, the two sides have agreed to provide rail vehicles and services and implement sanitary supervision in accordance with international rules, while domestic rules are valid where an issue occurs outside of international conventions.

The agreement also states that the two sides must treat passengers and goods from the other side the way they treat their own. This applies to free access to destination points, providing space for cargos in terminals, unloading and uploading of cargos, onboarding and offboarding passengers, and using international railroad services.

Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and Afghanistan Railway Authority have been chosen in the agreement as qualified authorities to supervise implementing the agreement and to solve disagreements.

Iran and Afghanistan linked their railway through Iran’s Khaf and Afghanistan’s Herat.

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Chinese consortium meets with Ghani over $400 million power project

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2021)

A group of Chinese investors met with President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday to discuss the possibility of establishing a coal-fired power plant in the country.

The Presidential Palace (ARG) said in a statement the group plans to invest $400 million in the energy-generating project.

The plan is for the coal power plant to generate 300 megawatts of electricity.

“In the meeting, President Ghani articulated potentials of natural resources as well as investment opportunities in the energy sector in Afghanistan,” the statement read.

The statement noted that Ghani has instructed the Afghanistan Investment Facilitation Unit to assess the plan “in coordination with Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat to facilitate investment opportunities for the group and to share the outcome with the Office of the President.”

Energy in Afghanistan is provided by hydropower followed by fossil fuel and solar power.

According to Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), approximately 35% of Afghanistan’s population has access to electricity.

Currently, Afghanistan generates about 600 megawatts (MW) of electricity from several hydroelectric plants as well as using fossil fuel and solar panels.

However, more than 670 MW more is imported from neighboring Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

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