Afghan, Australian and Indian officials and experts held discussions over expanding Afghanistan’s trade relations with the region and beyond on the sidelines of the 2nd annual India-Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show in India’s Mumbai city.
Addressing an event in Mumbai on Friday, Ajmal Ahmadi, President Ghani’s advisor on economic affairs, said Afghanistan can export goods to Australia through Chabahar port as well as via India and Indonesia routes.
The officials discussed opening of sea routes and air corridors between the three countries for expanding trade and transit relations.
Ahmadi said the National Unity Government is working on establishing transit corridors through India, Indonesia, Turkey and China to Australia. He said India can play a crucial role in this regard.
“This question is important now but it also becomes increasingly important once we begin to rump up our mineral sector. So here obviously Chabahar port is a key issue where we are looking to diversify our export options,” said Ahmadi.
“(The idea) is to see how Afghan goods will reach India. From India onwards, we can work more on it so that we take it Australian markets,” said Wahidullah Waisi, Afghanistan’s Ambassador in Australia.
Meanwhile, Australian analysts said establishing transit routes between Afghanistan and Australia will benefit economies of the two countries.
The analysts said there are good markets for Afghanistan’s saffron, carpet and dried and fresh fruit in Australia.
William Mali, a university lecturer from Australia, said they are looking forward to establish an effective framework to ease trade and transit between Afghanistan, India and Australia.
“There is real potential for producers in Afghanistan to partner with producers in India to see where they can jointly cooperate and sale overseas particularly in Australia,” Nishang Mutwani, financial expert in India said.
According to government statistics, the trade volume between Afghanistan and Australia is around $10 million a year and part of Afghan exports to Australia includes carpets as well as precious and semi-precious stones.