MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Afghan and Uzbekistan have agreed on creating a joint economic zone on their common border to boost bilateral trade.
The proposed economic zone, to be set up in the Sarkhandarya province of Uzbekistan, will facilitate Afghan traders and investors.
Balkh and Sarkhandarya governors made statements to the effect at the second conference on strengthening Uzbek-Afghan cooperation in areas of trade and culture in Mazar-i-Sharif.
The Sarkhandarya governor said his country was willing to expand economic and trade ties with Afghanistan.
He added the two sides discussed an agreement on creating an economic zone in Sarkhandarya and initial work of the project had begun.
The visiting official hoped the economic zone, when established, would encourage Afghan traders to invest in Uzbekistan and vice versa.
Based on the agreement, Afghan traders will be able to stay in Sarkhandarya for 15 days without visa and they will get necessary facilities.
“The Afghan-Uzbekistan development committee for cooperation has been established and is doing its job,”
For his part, Balkh Governor Mohammad Farhad Azimi told the conference that with the establishment of the economic zone, Afghan products could be easily exported to global markets.
He voiced optimism about the further development of Afghan-Uzbekistan ties in the spheres of trade and culture.
Azimi added Uzbekistan was looking forward to increasing investment by Afghans in that country to expand economic links.
The Balkh governor said the working committee had been tasked with facilitating travel between Afghan and Uzbekistan for traders.
Azimi urged Uzbek businessmen to invest in exporting Afghanistan’s agricultural products, fresh and dried fruits, stones and other products.
Meanwhile, Afghan traders expressed optimism about the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan trade and economic cooperation.
Amruddin Kakar, a businessman from Balkh, told Pajhwok Afghan News that greater economic cooperation would benefit both sides.
He believed real cooperation from Uzbekistan would enable Afghan traders to easily reach Asian and European markets.
Balkh business people asked the government to convince Uzbekistani entrepreneurs into investing in Afghanistan.