Cement exports to Afghanistan reduced to zero

PESHAWAR: Pakistani exports to Afghanistan have stalled after the Taliban takeover, with all orders canceled due to the closure of the neighboring country’s construction sector.

Traders said cement accounted for up to 40% of Pakistan’s total exports to Afghanistan, but now, due to strict border management and other obstacles, imports have been reduced to zero, this which causes heavy losses not only for traders but also for the public treasury.

Shahid Hussain, Board Member (CA) of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce (PAJCC), said building materials, especially cement, make up a large part of Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan .

Hussain added that Pakistan’s exports have fallen from 70% to 20% since August 15 due to the closure of banks in Afghanistan when the Taliban took power. However, over the past week, he said, cement exports have been reduced to zero as Afghans are now completely unable to make payments.

According to Hussain, traders had called on the government to ease restrictions on Pakistan-Afghan trade which has been severely affected due to current FATF sanctions which resulted in the cash desks being closed.

He added that previously traders would deposit US dollars at checkouts and in return get forms (E) and (I) from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) which is now closed, forcing the traders to work on reservations. orders.

According to sources, Afghan banks only provide money to the public for their daily expenses.

The owner of the steel company Zarak Khan said Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan were already low due to the availability of cheap steel from Central Asian countries over the past decade.

He lamented that no attention had been paid to the increase in exports in recent years either. “If attention had been paid to the Pakistan-Afghan trade and the barriers removed, it would have benefited the whole of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).”

He added that the reluctance of banks to provide letters of credit (LC) for exports to the Central Asian Republics (CAR) and the refusal of insurance companies to insure goods transported to Afghanistan also affect trade.

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