(MENAFN - Wadsam) Afghanistan and Uzbekistan
are continuing efforts to strengthen trade relations between the two countries.
Significant progress was made during the second round of the
Afghanistan-Uzbekistan public-private dialogue – held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan,
on 16 July – during which the two sides agreed to further strengthen their
The event was held within
the framework of the Advancing Afghan Trade (AAT) project financed by the
European Union (EU) and implemented by International Trade Centre (ITC). A key
goal of the AAT project is ensure greater integration and connectivity of
Afghanistan with its neighbours. Crucial to the success of this effort is
regular consultations with neighbouring countries on government and enterprise
Ajmal Ahmady, Minister of Industry
and Commerce of Afghanistan, said: 'Our trade mission to Tashkent confirmed the strong will of both nations to
enhance relations in all spheres of economy. Sustained dialogue will help
address challenges related to trade and transit, and the Public-Private
Dialogue is the optimal platform to achieve this. I am certain that the
different components of this meeting will strengthen the trade and economic
ties between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.'
The meeting in Tashkent concluded with a declaration to further strengthen
trade cooperation between the two countries. Among the intentions set out in
the declaration were the reaffirmation to ensure the mutual implementation of
the Most Favored Nation (MFN) treatment and to scrutinize transit issues, transit
costs and fees through the establishment of a dedicated working group. The
declaration also establishes the need to conclude a trilateral transit
agreement with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan; and to conclude a
bilateral agreement on mutual promotion and protection of investment. A road
map including a timeline on implementation of the agreed actions will be
annexed to the official declaration.
Pierre Mayaudon, Ambassador
and Head of European Union (EU) Delegation in Afghanistan said that the strengthening
of Afghanistan's trade connectivity was key a priority for the European Union.
'I am confident that the second Public-Private Dialogue held this week in
Tashkent will serve this purpose in multiple manners. Facilitated by ITC, our
implementing partner of the Advancing Afghan Trade project, this meeting marks
an important milestone in the process,' he said
'Connecting Afghanistan with
regional trade corridors means greater access to global value chains and
markets – including the European Union – which will improve the circulation of
people, goods and services. And we are very pleased to see the positive impact
of the EU-supported AAT project on the Afghan-Uzbek trade relations. Working
for Afghan trade connectivity is working for peace.'
Jean-Sébastien Roure, a
senior adviser with ITC and manager of the AAT project, said: 'These
regular consultations have been crucial in opening up new, non-traditional
trading routes for Afghanistan and building confidence and trust between
government and business stakeholders of the two countries.'
Notable successes since the
launch of the initiative in 2018 include facilitating the process of unilateral
granting by Uzbekistan of most-favoured nation preference to all Afghan
imports; review of transit fees applied by Uzbekistan to Afghan traders; and; a
proposal by Uzbekistan to establish a special Frontier Trade Zone on the basis
of 'Termez Cargo Center' specifically for Afghan traders.
The EU-funded Advancing Afghan Trade project is implemented by International Trade Center under the leadership of the Afghan Ministry of Industry and Commerce. It is a response to the Afghan government's ongoing efforts to use trade as a driver of economic growth, regional cooperation and stability.
Afghanistan acceded to
the World Trade Organization in July 2016, after which it immediately moved to
ratify the global trade body's Trade Facilitation Agreement.