Trilateral meeting in Islamabad establishes trade working group for Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan

In the aftermath of the inaugural trilateral meeting among officials from Pakistan, Uzbekistan and the Taliban, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s office reported on Tuesday that a trade working group had been established by the three sides.

The tripartite meeting in Islamabad saw the co-chairmanship of the commerce ministers of Pakistan and the Taliban, along with the deputy prime minister of Uzbekistan.

The collaborative efforts of the three countries have been directed towards developing plans for trade transit and railway connections connecting South and Central Asia, with Afghanistan playing a pivotal role in the envisioned routes.

“The three sides also established a trilateral working group to discuss customs, logistics, trade promotion, tariffs, TIR procedures, etc.,” stated the Pakistani Prime Minister’s office following discussions between Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Jamshid Khodjaev Abdukhakomovich, and Caretaker Pakistani Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar in Islamabad.

Expressing contentment with the trilateral meeting’s outcomes, the Pakistani prime minister expressed optimism about the potential of the trilateral mechanism to strengthen trade relations among the participating nations.

“Kakar expressed satisfaction at the pace of bilateral engagements between the two countries, especially in the areas of trade, defense, and connectivity,” the statement added. “The Prime Minister underlined the need to continue the momentum of people-to-people exchanges.”

Kakar emphasized that streamlined visa procedures, improved banking channels, and reciprocal warehousing facilities would further enhance trade between the two countries. He expressed hope that the business communities of both nations could swiftly achieve the bilateral trade target of $1 billion.

The Taliban embassy in Islamabad disclosed that discussions during the meeting encompassed the Trans-Afghan railway project, three-way transit, and addressing regional connectivity challenges.

“The meeting focused on boosting trade relations among the three nations,” a statement from the Pakistani commerce ministry said after talks concluded. “Discussions centered around reducing trade barriers, simplifying customs procedures, and promoting smoother cross-border trade.”

“By promoting economic interdependence and cooperation, we can build a foundation for sustainable development and prosperity in the region,” said Pakistani Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz, as quoted in the statement. “By leveraging their strengths and resources, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan can tap into new markets and expand their economies.”

The meeting by the Taliban delegation to Pakistan comes amidst an ongoing mass exodus of Afghan migrants from the neighboring country since Nov. 1.