Volume of trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan growing, minister tells Senate

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The volume of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan is growing, the Senate was informed on Tuesday.

During the question-hour, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan told the House that the current volume of trade between the two countries stood at $2.28 billion annually.

The minister said state-of-the-art dry ports were being established at Torkham, Chaman and Wahga borders to expedite trade.

To a question, Dastgir said a number of food exhibitions had been organised across the world to introduce Pakistani products at the international level and enhance the country’s exports.

He said Indonesia had agreed to import 100,000 metric tonnes of rice from Pakistan during the next four years, adding that the Philippines had also shown interest to import Pakistani rice.

The minister said serious efforts were being made to establish full banking relations with Iran to facilitate rice exports to Tehran.

Dastgir, to a question, said incentives for the development of mines and minerals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, FATA and other less-developed areas of the country had been announced to increase value addition. He said a fund of Rs 6 billion had been sanctioned for this purpose.

The minister urged the companies working in the sector to avail funding and other facilities being offered by the Ministry of Commerce.

The minister ruled out any extra duty on Pakistani imports after Britain’s exit from the European Union, and said the United Kingdom had shown interest in signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with Pakistan.

He said Pakistani exports to the EU had witnessed eight per cent growth during the first three months of the current year.

To another query, Minister for Parliamentary Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the House that the new Islamabad International Airport would be fully operational by June next year.