Islamabad : Afghan President Hamid Karzai Thursday urged the Pakistani business community and investors to take full advantage of the trade potential present in Afghanistan to promote bilateral trade.
Addressing a select gathering of Pakistani business community at a function organised jointly by Board of Investment and Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry here at local hotel, the Afghan President said the investors from Pakistan could invest in any field.
“The promotion of business and trade between two countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan) have grown not rapidly but ‘drastically’ in last six years,” said Karzai.
He said the trade which was just USD25 million in 2001 has increased to USD1.3 billion that include mainly exports from Pakistan to Afghanistan.
Karzai said Afghanistan has only USD50 million share in the USD1.3 billion trade between the two countries, therefore, there is a need to increase this share with increasing bilateral trade.
The Afghan President said besides improvement in the traditional trade between the two countries, there is wide scope for investment in many other areas including hotel industry and other sectors, as Afghanistan is a gateway to Central Asia.
Karzai especially mentioned the Chinese investment of USD2.8 billion in copper fields.
He said Chinese will also establish rail link which will be extended to Pakistan providing another step to promote trade in the region.
“The investment opportunities are abundant in all the fields and it is the most cheaper and conducive environment for investors particularly from Pakistan,” he added.
Karzai said Afghan government has taken significant steps in last four years to facilitate investment and simplify the process to award licences for doing any business.
Regarding complaints of cement exports to Afghanistan, Karzai said there are no restrictions on import of cement as due to massive development projects, Afghanistan needs more cement.
He however said there has been some duty adjustments for the import of beverages only to protect the local industry.