Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan are planning to replace the existing Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Agreement (APTTA) by a Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA) in March 2015 for which the first trilateral expert level meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan was held on January 3, 2015 in Islamabad co-chaired by Secretary Commerce, Shehzad Arbab, Acting Minister for Commerce & Industries, Mozamil Shinwari of Afghanistan and Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade, Nazriev S. R of Tajikistan.
Secretary Commerce highlighting the significance of regional integration and commercial activity for enhanced co-operation, economic development and prosperity of the region said that the trade and transit agreement between the three countries would enhance trade through facilitation, removal and barriers, unnecessary delays and reduction in cost of doing business.
The officials of three countries hoped that the agreement would be a win-win situation and lay the foundation for a greater and deeper regional economic cooperation for all three countries. After a detailed discussion, the participants took the following decisions: (i) each member nominated one focal person for future co-ordination and communication with other members; Rahim Momand, Director General, International Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industries Afghanistan, Farukh Soliev, head of the Foreign Economic Co-ordination Department, Tajikistan and Robina Athar, Additional Secretary Ministry of Commerce. She would co-ordinate with other focal persons.
Ministry of Commerce Pakistan would share the draft on TTTA with other members and seek their view . Based on the input received from member countries, first draft would be prepared by end of next month. The second trilateral meeting would be held in Dushanbe in the middle of March 2015 where the first draft of the agreement would be presented for a discussion and final draft.
Pakistan needs the access to Central Asian markets; the market potential is significant yet hugely untapped. So there is a case for increasing forex earnings via increasing exports to Afghanistan and Central Asia. New markets would also result in high industrial production at home and therefore spur economic activity.
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