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Sunday, 22 November 2015 18:50
Last Updated on Sunday, 22 November 2015 18:52
Afghan businessmen on Sunday said they met with Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov last week and held constructive discussions that helped resolve issues and cement trade ties.
Among the issues discussed during their meeting were matters on expanding trade between the two countries, transit issues, the establishment of an Afghanistan bank branch in Kazakhstan, resolving visa issues for Afghan businessmen, facilitating trade to Kazakhstan and the importation of fuel and gas.
The prime minister agreed to help Afghan traders by expanding trade ties and to pave the way for investment by Afghan traders in Kazakhstan.
Yunus Mohmand, the deputy head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said: “The meeting we had with the prime minister of Kazakhstan resolved almost all our problems including the visa issue. Meanwhile, the prime minister promised to expand trade dealings between Afghan and Kazakh traders.”
According to the Afghan businessmen, Kazakhstan is interested in expanding transit services to Afghan traders and assist in cementing joint trade dealings.
The Afghan businessmen expressed optimism about the outcome of the meeting and hoped transit issues to central Asia will be overcome.
Esmatullah, a local businessman, said: “We hope that from now on our issues will be resolved and that we can expand our trade dealings with Kazakh partners. If our problems are resolved the trade volumes between the two countries could significantly increase in the near future.”
This comes after President Ashraf Ghani signed a number of agreements during his one-day visit to Kazakhstan on Friday and stressed the need for Kabul to strengthen economic, cultural and political ties with Astana.
During his trip, Ghani signed agreements on the management of natural disasters, a cultural agreement and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on agriculture, diplomacy, foreign relations and administrative reforms.
Ministers from both countries signed four draft agreements and two agreements.
“A new agreement which was signed on natural disaster management encompasses three parts including technical, financial and other types of cooperation,” said Wais Ahmad Barmak, State Minister for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs.
“Kazakhstan will support us in tackling natural disasters as it has lots of experience in this regard,” he added.
It is said that trade volume between Afghanistan and Kazakhstan is at least $300 million USD per year. This is expected to increase in the coming years.
Ghani’s deputy spokesman Sayed Zafar Hashemi said on Saturday that Ghani had also signed an agreement to buy 600,000 tons of wheat from Kazakhstan.
Hashemi said Kazakhstan has in addition agreed to provide 400,000 tons of wheat in aid – as Afghanistan is looking for an alternate supplier to Pakistan.
According to him, Kazakhstan has also agreed to the lower the price of exports to Afghanistan. He went on to say that Kazakhstan has shown an interest in purchasing Afghanistan’s dried fruit, nuts, saffron and marble