The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Afghanistan, China railway to boost trade ties

Trade route ‘rail link’ between Afghanistan and China has been opened. According to ministry of commerce and industries, the new rail link is good for expansion of trade relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, exports through the link will increased by opening the Afghanistan-China rail link.
“I’m happy to open exporting the first goods through Afghanistan – China Rail Link,” deputy minister of commerce and industries Zuhoruddin Shirzad said, hoping that trade between the two countries will increase by opening the new rail link.
According to the ministry of commerce and industries, Afghani goods as carpet, dried and fresh fruits, marble and other Afghani products are exported to China through Hairatan port.
In a ceremony held on this occasion, participants stressed on increasing of trade between the two countries, saying that trade between the two countries have boosted in recent years.
China’s commercial attaché to Afghanistan Deyan said the Belt and Road initiative has increased Afghanistan-China trade values to $1 billion per year. 
“Afghanistan has benefited a lot from China’s Belt and Road initiative. From November 2018 up to now, China, based on an intra-state agreement, has imported 1,200 tons of pine nuts valued $40 million,” said Deyan. 
Opening of the Kabul Operation Center and Milepost of China – Afghan Freight Train has been sponsored by various official trade departments of China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
Khan Jan Alakozay, deputy chief of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), said on the occasion this rail network between the two countries would bring down trade cost with China by a phenomenal 50 percent. He expressed hope Afghanistan’s rich mineral resources can be exported to China much faster via this route. Alakozay said Afghanistan aims to lift its exports to $2 billion by 2020.
But, Alakozay stressed that those countries having role in opening big trade routes through which Afghanistan was exported its goods to neighboring and world countries should implement commitments and not create problems for Afghanistan. “Although Afghanistan government has provided opportunities to traders, a number of neighboring countries are trying to sabotage Afghanistan’s trade relations in international level and creating technical problems soon after a corridor or trade route opens,” Alakozay said.
Meanwhile, an Afghan economic experts SaifuddinSaihoon believes that any step taken towards expansion of trade is good. “Opening the new rail link between Afghanistan and China is a good step as it boosts both economic development and exports of Afghanistan,” Saihoon added. In recent years, Afghanistan has been striving to end its reliance on Pakistan for international trade routes. Last month, the landmark trade convoy from Afghanistan to Turkey on the historic ‘Lapis Lazuli’ route returned successfully bringing back medicine, solar panels and oil.
Named after a gemstone of Afghanistan, the Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was finalized after three years of talks and was signed during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan last year.
Shukria Kohistani

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.