Despite an MoU having been signed between the two countries to increase bilateral trade, visa problems for Afghans prevail.
Kabul, Kuala Lumpur Wrap Up First Trade Conference
Afghanistan and Malaysia convened their first trade conference in Kuala Lumpur this week to discuss ways to enhance bilateral economic and commercial relations and to find solutions to issues facing business communities in both countries.
According to Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed between the two countries to pave the way for Afghanistan to increase its exports to Malaysia. The two countries also agreed to increase joint investments.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) said currently Afghan businessmen face serious issues when it comes to applying for Malaysian visas and called on the Malaysian government to resolve the problem.
“An agreement was signed between Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industries, the agreement will help us to increase our imports and exports with that country and work together for joint investments,” said ACCI spokesman Seyam Pesarlai.
Currently Afghanistan imports food, electronics and machinery from Malaysia, with an estimated trade value of about $5 million USD annually.
“The access of our businessmen to Malaysian visa is quite difficult; this is one of the biggest problems for our investors. Malaysia does not have an embassy in Afghanistan, but we have an embassy in Malaysia. Businessmen are compelled to travel to other countries for Malaysian visas,” said Sayed Yahya Akhlaqi, head of the trade and transit department of the ministry of commerce and industries.
The MoCI meanwhile said a delegation of Malaysian investors is expected to visit Afghanistan in the near future where they will assess investment opportunities in Afghanistan.
ACCI also said Afghanistan plans to increase exports of precious and semi-precious stones to Malaysia in the years ahead.