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Pakistan-ECO trade via Afghanistan may be blocked

Pakistan-ECO trade via Afghanistan may be blocked

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Aug 30, 2017 - 12:09

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Pakistaninfo-icon fears Afghanistaninfo-icon may deny it the use of its territory for transporting goods to Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) member states and European countries.

Under a $57-billion economic corridor project funded by China, Pakistan is eyeing links with the Central Asian states via land routes through Afghanistan, a media report said.

Pakistan and Tajikistan had previously desired signing a transit trade agreement with Afghanistan, but the landlocked country insisted on inclusion of India in the deal.

However, The Express Tribune reported, Pakistan rejected Afghanistan's demand, saying that India could not become part of the accord unless it improved diplomatic relations.

Pakistan is a signatory to the ECO Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TTFA), which took effect in May 2006. Its objectives include development of mutually beneficial transit transport arrangements for regional trade.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have not yet accepted the Convention on the Contract for International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) while other ECO member states are party to the agreement.

Without accession to the CMR and the regulatory framework, the transportation of goods by Pakistani vehicles through land routes to ECO member states and European countries will not be permissible.

"In a meeting held on August 4, sources said, cabinet members emphasised that all the authorities concerned, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all provinces backed Pakistan’s accession to the CMR convention, 1978."

The ministers warned the move would be useless if Afghanistan did not accept the convention. They urged more consultations before a decision on the issue was taken.

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