Pakistan-Afghanistan trade hit by border closures

Trade volume drops after Islamabad closed frontier crossings for more than month

Pakistan-Afghanistan trade hit by border closures

World Bulletin / News Desk

Escalating diplomatic tensions and frequent border closures have had a chilling effect on Pakistan-Afghanistan trade in recent months, according to analysts and business figures.

The volume of trade between landlocked Afghanistan and its southern neighbor have been mostly affected by terrorist attacks in Pakistan that Islamabad blames on Afghanistan-based militants, leading to the closure of border crossings.

According to the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce, trade between the countries amounted to $2.5 billion in 2010 but has now dropped to $1.8 billion.

Last month, Pakistan closed the border but later reopened the two main crossings -- Torkham in the northwest and southwestern Chaman.

However, the month-long closure led to huge losses for traders, as well as seeing thousands of people -- mostly Afghans -- stranded on the wrong side of the frontier.

The closure “shattered the confidence of businessmen from both sides”, Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the chambers, told Anadolu Agency.

He added: “The trade volume hit a record $2.7 billion in 2015 and it could have touched $5 billion easily if the trade had not been mixed up with politics.

“We can take the trade volume to $5 billion easily if the government gives us an incentive-based trade policy.”

Most agree the blockade has had the greatest impact on Afghans, which is the second largest importer of Pakistani goods after the U.S. -- taking 90 percent of its consumer goods from Pakistan.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Mart 2017, 17:09
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