Members of the private sector from Afghanistan, India and other countries have signed up to 400 memorandums of understanding (MoU) and five contracts during the 2nd annual India-Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show in Mumbai in the past two days.
Among the MoUs is an agreement between Afghan and Indian companies on the establishment of a large pharmacy and an agreement on the expansion of import and export with Indian transport companies.
“About 400 MoUs in the last two days! Over $115 million in carpet deals,” said Loren Stoddard, head of economic development at USAID office in Kabul, as he talked to a gathering of Afghan and foreign investors in India.
Kam Air officials meanwhile said their cargo flights will carry more goods to India as agreed at the event.
“Our daily flights will be from Kabul to Delhi and from Delhi it can be transferred to different parts of India and abroad. At the beginning, we will transport 25 tons of cargo every day which will be exported abroad and then this amount can be increased,” said Ramin Yuresh, head of business affairs of Kam Air.
Meanwhile, an MoU was signed between Afghan Chamber of Mines and Industries, Afghan-American Joint Chamber and Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Gujrat.
Some Afghan investors who attended the event said they see an improvement in the country’s manufacturing sector.
“Afghan investors have something to say. Afghanistan’s industries have improved compared with the past. The participation of the Afghan industries in this show is an example of this claim,” said Sherbaz Kaminzada, CEO of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
The exhibition was inaugurated by CEO Abdullah Abdullah, John Bass, US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Subhash Desai, India’s Minister for Industries and Mining and other officials on September 12.
On the sidelines of the show, Afghan and foreign experts have discussed ways to increase Afghanistan’s trade relations with India and beyond that with Australia and Indonesia.
Addressing an event in Mumbai on Friday, Ajmal Ahmadi, President Ashraf 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.
The first such trade show was organized in New Delhi last year. Indian buyers and Afghan vendors signed over $27 million in contracts for raw and processed agricultural products, and a number of Indian buyers and Afghan vendors signed Memorandums of Understanding valued at nearly $214 million at that expo.
This time around, more than 600 representatives from Afghanistan, India and international businesses are expected to attend the trade show, featuring Afghanistan’s finest products.
More than 50 agriculture exporters from Afghanistan are currently in the city to explore business tie-ups as well as to showcase their finest agriculture products including fruits, nuts and spices buyers from Maharashtra and neighboring states.
In July, a two-day trade mission exhibition ‘Made in Afghanistan: Nature’s Best’ was held in New Delhi and business deals worth $78 million were signed, the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.
By 2020, bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan was expected to reach more than $2 billion. The expo would help develop economic ties between Afghanistan and international markets, and further advance trade integration, according to reports.