Speaker of the Pakistani National Assembly Asad Qaisar on Wednesday invited Afghan businessmen to take part in economic activities under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Talking to Afghan Minister of Industry and Commerce Nisar Ahmad Ghoryani in Islamabad, Qaisar invited Afghan businessmen to invest in the Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in northwestern Pakistan to be set up under CPEC, according to a statement from the speaker's office.
Qaisar said economic cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and improved trade and transit facilities would help to connect Central Asia and beyond.
He also proposed the establishment of a border entry point for trade at Wakhan border, which would also open gates to Central Asia.
"Promotion of trade and economic links between Pakistan and Afghanistan would usher into a new era of socio-economic development and fighting the scourges of poverty and instability," the speaker said, adding that the early conclusion of trade agreements between Pakistan and Afghanistan would further boost economic activity on both sides.
He said the early conclusion of negotiation of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement and Preferential Trade Agreement would open new avenues of cooperation between the two countries.
Ghoryani led an Afghan delegation in three-day talks with Pakistani officials to revise a transit trade agreement over the possibility of a preferential trade agreement and a plan to establish border markets to facilitate bilateral trade.
He welcomed the speaker's offer for participation in CPEC and Rashakai Special Economic Zone, saying that issues raised by the speaker would be addressed on his return back home, the statement said.
He informed Qaisar that 80 percent negotiations on the trade agreements have been done and was confident that the same would be signed soon. He said that the Afghan government is committed to boosting trade cooperation for a long-lasting mutually beneficial relationship.
A Pakistani official, who attended the talks, told Xinhua on Wednesday that both sides have exchanged proposals but more time is needed before talking final decisions and both sides have made progress during the talks.
Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan had signed a transit trade agreement in 1965 and it was revised in 2010. Pakistan had been providing a transit facility to Afghanistan under the agreement. Enditem