Afghanistan and Uzbekistan this week signed dozens of contracts and agreements pertaining to trade, transit, economic relations and security.
Kabul-Tashkent Transit Pact To Boost Regional Trade
With the implementation of the transit agreement between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, Afghan businessmen will have the opportunity to access Chinese, Russian and central Asian markets, The Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) announced on Thursday.
Uzbekistan will also be able to expand its commercial relations with other countries through Afghanistan’s trade corridor, the Ministry said.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) has said that the implementation of bilateral agreements between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan on trade and transit will help both nations double their bilateral commercial exchanges.
Last year, a commercial rail network of 2 700 kilometers reached Afghanistan.
Pakistan has been frequently accused by the Afghan government of creating deliberate obstacles to undermine Afghanistan’s trade and transit sectors because of Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan’s Karachi port.
However, with the expansion of Afghanistan’s relations with the central Asian countries, it appears that Afghanistan’s dependency on Pakistani is decreasing and the country is now able to conduct economic relations with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
“The important thing for us is to transport our goods via roads, railway and air and use those goods trucks of third countries because Afghanistan has not its own railway trucks. The transit routes will help Afghanistan transport its goods through railways, saving money and time,” said Musafir Qoqandi, spokesman for the MoCI.
According to Afghan officials, the volume of exports and imports between Afghanistan and China have increased and the new transit agreement with Uzbekistan will further boost it.
“The transit of goods via Pakistan was taking much time due to long distances. Were also facing problems at the Karachi port whenever there was political rift with Pakistan, because the political issues were also stopping the movement of our goods and we were suffering major financial loses,” said ACCI spokesman Seyam Pesarlai.
“Taking the advantage of the transit corridor with Uzbekistan depends on the economic activities of various sectors in Afghanistan. One of the key elements of this is that the Afghan government have to adopt policies that could help increase the level of production,” said Shabir Bashiri, chairman of the industrialist’s high council
Uzbekistan is also willing to connect itself with Iran through Afghanistan’s transit corridor with the help of Herat-Mazar-e-Sharif railway line.