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July 14, 2020

Afghan trade with India thru Wagah begins from tomorrow

Top Story

July 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Fulfilling its commitments under the Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), Pakistan Monday took a step forward in relations with Afghanistan announcing full restoration of bilateral trade and transit trade at all border crossing terminals to pre-COVID-19 status.

Both countries had signed the APTTA in 2010. Pakistan had in March closed all its international borders as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

Prime Minister's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq had earlier in the day tweeted, “With a view to facilitating Afghanistan’s transit trade, Pakistan has decided to resume Afghan exports through the Wagah border from 15th July 2020 after implementing COVID-19 related protocols. We have already restored bilateral trade and Afghan transit trade at all border crossings”.

Sadiq’s appointment and his meetings in Kabul have greatly improved bilateral relations, which have seen endless tensions between the two countries. Earlier, he had congratulated those working at the Angoor Adda Border Crossing and said it would be open for trade two days before the proposed date of July 12.

“Trade should be the mainstay of Pak-Afghan relations and prosperity of regions on both sides of the border,” the ambassador had remarked.

As a landlocked country, Pakistan’s decision is a welcome one for Afghanistan, which now sees for the past month the reopening of three trade routes through Chaman, Torkham and Ghulam Khan borders.

The Foreign Office meanwhile said it was at the special request of the Government of Afghanistan and with a view to facilitating Afghanistan’s transit trade, Pakistan had decided to resume Afghan exports through the Wagah border crossing from 15th July 2020, after implementing COVID-19 related protocols.

“Pakistan remains fully committed to further strengthening its bilateral relations with Afghanistan in all areas including trade, and to facilitate Afghanistan’s transit trade under APTTA”, it added.

Of importance for Afghanistan is trade with India through the Wagah border. India had started an air corridor with Kabul for import and export of items but at a very high cost. Now with the reopening of Wagah border, Afghanistan will easily export goods through the Indian trucks at the border. However, as yet Pakistan does not allow any Indian goods to be transported back into India.

At one stage, President Ashraf Ghani had threatened Pakistan with cutting off its trade route through Afghanistan to Central Asian States if it did not allow Indian goods into Afghanistan.