By Arsalan Ahmed Raja
Afghanistan Pakistan trade is extremely important in promoting peace and prosperity among both countries as well as crucial in uplifting local people living across borders from poverty. The first ship carrying Afghan Shipment arrival at Gwadar has opened up the new avenues of opportunities for businessman from both countries. It will help in quick clearance of business goods which was a major issue due to congestion problems at other ports. The latest development will also help in increase of trade activities as it will ensure provision of goods and services domestically and internationally. Before the Gwadar, Afghanistan relied on the sea ports of Port Qasim and Karachi however now after Gwadar, once the shipment arrives, the containers will be loaded onto trucks for transport to Afghanistan through Pakistani border of Chaman.
Afghanistan has historically relied on the Pakistani land routes as well as ports for international trade under the light of a bilateral trade agreement known as Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). It is important for both countries to implement APTTA and CPEC Gwadar Port is a step taken in right direction to implement APTTA as well as move towards strengthening economic ties. “CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative are promoting regional economic ties,” said the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad while announcing the arrival of the first Afghan shipment at Gwadar. According to different publications, Pakistan handles around 45-50 percent of total afghan exports and around 60 percent of Afghan transit goes through Torkham border. China and Pakistan Governments plan to link CPEC with Afghanistan in future with the improvement of security situation in Afghanistan. With Gwadar taking the center stage it is expected that the bilateral trade between both countries will prosper which will ultimately improve the diplomatic, political, economic and social ties between both countries.