Tuesday, 15 September 2015 10:41

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 10:16

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Officials from the Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) said on Monday that trade between the two neighbors has dropped by just over 40 percent in the past three months.

The officials believe that the recent souring of relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan is largely behind this development and say that Afghan businessmen in particular have reduced the number of products, particularly food, that they import and are instead turning to other regional countries for supplies.

There are however other issues that have added to this decrease – issues that include transit problems, the worsening economy and the increase of customs tariffs into the country, said officials.

However, a widespread, yet informal boycott of Pakistani products is being seen around the country – particularly in Kabul.

One city resident, Parwiz Haidari, said his entire family now refuse to buy any Pakistani products. “In the past I bought rice, oil, wheat and other products from Pakistan. Now I look for alternate products from countries such as Russia, Turkey, India and even Kuwait.”

He says the price of goods from other countries might be slightly higher but they are usually of a better quality compared to Pakistani products.

Last year Afghanistan and Pakistan’s trade volume totaled an estimated $9 billion USD – this year however, projections are that this will top no more than $5 billion USD. Already, PAJCCI said the recent move has had a negative impact on factories in Pakistan and resulted in the closure of a number of such businesses in the neighboring country.

“Now due to Pakistan’s agenda towards Afghanistan, there has been a public move to boycott products manufactured in this country [Pakistan]. Because of this the people don’t want to use goods from Pakistan. Bad relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have caused this drop in trade between the two countries. Even a number of Pakistani investors have raised concerns over the issue,” deputy chairman of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) Khan Jan Alokozay said.

As an example, he said that three months ago, more than three tons of oil was being imported into Afghanistan from Pakistan. Today that figure has dropped to just two tons.

Alokozay said that “right now even children are refusing to buy Pakistan goods such as biscuits. Because of this, many businessmen have stopped importing goods from Pakistan.”

Meanwhile, officials from the Industries Association are optimist that this will have a positive impact on the domestic manufacturing market. They said: “Right now motivation has been created in the markets to use local products and owners of factories are optimistic over the increase of [sales] of their products.”

Afghanistan Industrial Association (AIA) head Ahmad Sakhi Payman said local manufacturers can use this to their own benefit and increase production in order to serve the local market.

Importers have meanwhile, turned to other regional markets to fill the gap and are now bringing in goods from Turkey, Iran, China, Turkmenistan, Russia, India and other Asian countries.

source : ToLo News