ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will soon re-open its border crossings with Afghanistan for trade after security enhancement under a new border management plan, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir announced Tuesday, blaming the war-ravaged neighbour for the border’s closure over its incapacity to check use of its soil by terrorists.
At a news conference here, the minister expressed the hope that the talks between the prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs and the Afghan national security adviser in London would prove to be helpful in resolving the outstanding issues between the two countries.
On Pakistan’s consent for two more categories of WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, Dastgir said Pakistan had offered a Preferential Trade Agreement to Afghanistan two years ago and the draft was struck at the Afghan National Security Council.
“Pakistan wants a balance between trade regulation and facilitation with Afghanistan,” he added, while admitting that in Pakistan the impact of the border closure was being felt from Peshawar to Karachi.
The minister, to a query about the FTA-II between Pakistan and China, said the treaty would be signed after the imbalance on the part of Pakistan was removed. “We are in no hurry to sign this agreement. Our priority is the interests of the country,” he went on to say.
About the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the minister said the treaty had come into force from February 22, after the WTO ratified it with two-thirds majority.
“Pakistan has already notified Category A commitments that are implementable immediately. While Category B and Category C were notified to WTO after being drafted by the Ministry of Commerce and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR),” concluded the minister.