Afghanistan participated in the 9th meeting of Regional Technical Group on Trade, Commerce and Investment CBM of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process held in New Delhi on September 20, 2018.

The ninth meeting of the Regional Technical Group of Confidence Building Measure on Trade, Commerce & Investment Opportunities under the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process was hosted by India, as the Lead Country in New Delhi.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Acting Director General, Economic Cooperation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mr. Hassan Soroosh, and Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Dr. Deepak Mittal, and attended by representatives from 19 participating countries and supporting international organizations, including Azerbaijan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, Australia, Egypt, Germany, the UK, the US, the EU and the UN.

The meeting aimed at highlighting the initiatives and activities to be taken under the Trade, Commerce and Industry (TCI) - Confidence Building Measures (CBM). It was an attempt to engage participating countries to solicit their support to render the process a more regional character and build consensus.

The Afghan representatives emphasized on to take concrete steps by India to develop a web portal supported by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for exchanging information on regional markets, trade and investment opportunities; and facilitating networking between businesses for the participating countries. He also proposed to link the web portal with Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA).

Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, the Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in India met with Vijay Keshav Ghokale, the Foreign Secretary of India on September 17, 2018 in New Delhi.

During the meeting, the duo exchanged views about bilateral ties between Afghanistan and India and discussed ways on how to further strengthen these ties.

The Afghan Ambassador spoke about the upcoming Partnership Council meeting under the SPA, which will be held in Kabul later this year.

Both the sides also discussed the ongoing challenges Afghanistan and the region are faced with - terrorism in particular and emphasized on ways to deal with.

Aiming to connect Afghan traders with International markets especially India, ‘Passage to Prosperity: India-Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show launched in Mumbai on September 12, 2018. The event was inaugurated by CEO of Afghanistan Dr. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. The event was graced by Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Afghanistan Ambassador to India, more than 200 government officials and business representatives from Afghanistan, International traders including India.

 Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID in collaboration with the Government of India and the Government of Afghanistan organized the second annual Passage to Prosperity: India-Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show.  The four day event is focused to strengthen economic and commercial ties of Afghanistan with International markets for prosperous Afghanistan.  The show hopes to explore Afghanistan’s partnership in international markets for the prosperous Afghanistan which has phenomenal resource for development.

 During the launching ceremony the honourable speakers and dignitaries emphasized on USAID’S efforts and Government of India’s support to organize such show which creates business avenues for Afghanistan.  India holds a special place in the hearts of the Afghans as stated by the speakers. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between TATA Power and Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat during the course of the event to enable Afghanistan in power generation. The MoU on power and energy between Afghanistan and India mainly focusing on implementation and monitoring of power projects, seamless energy supply, waste reduction, better fund raising, capacity building and project Management.

 Spice Jet airways signed a MoU with Afghanistan to provide air freight and passenger flight services starting from Kabul connecting with all Indian cities.  To enhance business cooperation a MoU was signed between Afghan Chamber of Commerce and IMC. Adding to the power sector, a MoU to supply 50 MW electricity was signed between Sheberghan Natural Gas and Ghazanfar Group which is a leading entity in supplying power to Afghan government for over twenty years.

‘Passage to Prosperity’ event is showcasing sectors like Afghan luxury goods, agriculture, energy, health and education, mining and heavy Industry. The event will conclude by 15 September, 2018. 

Afghan Ambassador to India, Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali attended the press launch of Second Annual Passage to Prosperity: India-Afghanistan International Trade Show in Mumbai on 30 August, 2018.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with, the Government of India, and the Government of Afghanistan will be organizing the second annual “Passage to Prosperity: India-Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show”.  The event will take place at the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar Hotel from September 12-15, 2018. 

Speaking at the press launch, Dr. Abdali stressed on, “With USAID support, Afghanistan has been able to re-establish trade and export systems. Air cargo for Afghan exports is a speedy and cost-effective method in comparison to the road transport. By 2020, bilateral trade is expected to reach more than $2 billion between India and Afghanistan. Passage to Prosperity will help develop economic ties between Afghanistan and international markets, and further advance trade integration.”

The four-day exhibition is expected to bring together more than 600 traders from Afghanistan, India and other countries. Afghanistan businesses will showcase finest textiles, carpets, gems, and jewelry. In the first phase of ‘Passage to Prosperity’ exhibition more than $27 million in contracts were signed between Indian buyers and Afghan vendors in 2017.

‘Passage to Prosperity’ will create opportunities for buyers to connect with Afghan exporters, explore business relationships and establishing competitive edge in growing markets across the region.

Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, the Ambassador of Afghanistan to India inaugurated the training for the second batch of Afghan Officers at Centre for WTO Studies on 27 August, 2018 in New Delhi.

While addressing the Afghan officials, Dr. Abdali stated that Afghanistan has undergone several training programmes pre-accession to WTO which turns out to be beneficial in understanding the nitty-gritty of the trade regulations. 

The Afghan Ambassador, during his speech, focused on Afghanistan’s commitments post accession to WTO and developments taken thereafter and motivated the Afghan Officials to seek training that will bring productive endeavors in trade regulations.

It is worth mentioning that the ceremony was also attended by Mir Sayed Saeedy, DG for International Trade, Government of Afghanistan, Shri Anup Wadhawan, Commerce Secretary, Government of India, Prof. Abhijit Das, Head Centre for WTO Studies, Dr. Manoj Pant, Director, IIFT, Professor Mukesh Bhatnagar, Centre for WTO Studies.

Funded by European Union the Centre for WTO Studies and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade is providing trade capacity building programme for Afghan Government Officials in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Afghanistan under a project of International Trade Centre (ITC) Geneva. The training programme for the first batch of 20 Afghanistan Officials was successfully conducted which comprised an inductor training programme followed by advanced training programmes. The training programme for the second batch of the officers started from 27-31 August, 2018.