The first shipment of Afghan goods, carrying 150 tons of marble in five trucks, left the country towards Azerbaijan via the Lapis Lazuli trade and transit route from the Aqina Port in Faryab province on Thursday.
Today’s export marks the third shipment of goods that Afghanistan sends to various countries through the route.
“This shipment will open the way for Afghanistan’s goods to Azerbaijan markets. Secondly, the shipment is containing a hundred tons of marble and this indicates that Afghanistan’s mining sector is developing,” Acting Minister of Commerce and Industries Ajmal Ahmadi said.
“Lapis Lazuli is open, Chabahar is open, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, the Hairatan will also be opened. All facilities are on the way, but the work on these areas is still zero. At least 500 tons of goods are ready in Nimroz for exports to India, but there are no export facilities. Iranians are not solving the issue with us,” said Khan Jan Alokozai, acting head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).
This new development takes place at a time that Afghanistan and Azerbaijan so far have not sealed a custom agreement and Lapis Lazuli member nations have yet to sort out visa issues.
Afghanistan’s imports from Azerbaijan has been estimated $3 million annually.
The Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was finalized after three years of talks and was signed during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.