Afghanistan and Uzbekistan officials discussed the establishment of a free trade zone in the border areas between the two the countries at a meeting in Uzbekistan’s Termez City on Thursday.
More than 40 officials and representatives of public and private sector of the two countries participated in the meeting which was organized by European Union and the International Trade Center.
On the sideline of this meeting, representatives of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan private sector signed an agreement on establishing a joint trade center in Termez City.
Trade volume between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan will increase to billions of dollars a year after creation of the trade zone, said Shakir Kargar, President Ashraf Ghani’s adviser in Central Asia affairs.
“The President (Ashraf Ghani) in his last meeting with President of Uzbekistan invited Uzbek investors to invest in Herat mines. It was interesting for Uzbek investors and we want Uzbekistan to invest in other mines too,” he said.
“It is a good platform to introduce to Afghan businessmen our products. Except that we are now thinking about and already discussed the possibility of the border trade,” said Jamshid Khodjaev, Minister of Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan.
The European Union and the International Trade Center officials said organizing such meetings will play a crucial role in improving trade ties between the two countries.
“Since the improvement of our relations with Uzbekistan in terms of trade, we have been witnessing good progress in this regard,” Mohammad Yunus Mohmand, deputy head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said.
Last year, Afghanistan-Uzbekistan trade volume was more than $350 million, according to government statistics.
Analysts said the amount will increase to over $700 million in the coming years.