Afghanistan aiming to increase trade with India to $2 billion by 2020: Afghan ambassador to India

Kabul – The bilateral trade between Afghanistan and India is expected to more than double to reach USD 2 billion by 2020 with the opening of air cargo route between the two countries.

“The bilateral trade between Afghanistan and India is USD 900 million and with opening of air corridor our target to take it to USD 2 billion by 2020,” Afghanistan Ambassador to India, Shaida  Mohammad Abdali  said at an USAID-FICCI event the other day.

India-Afghanistan have opened up two direct air cargo routes linking New Delhi and Mumbai to Kabul. The Kabul-Mumbai route was opened up last year.

Since starting of Kabul -New Delhi air corridor in mid-June 2017 followed by second air corridor between Kabul-Mumbai in December 2017 more than 100 Flights have been conducted between the two countries and transported 2,500 metric tons of goods.

“We want more and more flights but landing during night hours is not allowed. These are small issues which will be resolved over time as plans to establish air corridor connection with more Indian cities,” Economic Advisor to PresidentGhani, Ajmal Ahmadi said.

He said that Afghanistan has opened up its power, pharmaceutical, optical cable manufacturing and other sectors by allowing 100 percent foreign direct investment where it is looking forward to significant participation from Indian firms.

“Afghanistan still considers India as the largest market for agriculture and craft products.During the last three years Kabul exported about 10,200 metric tonnes in volume to India. In last one year alone, it went up to 2,500 metric tons and this year we expect it to reach 5,000 metric tons,”Ahmadi said.

He said that Afghanistan is going to make changes in existing rules for mineral sector in the country, which will boost the bilateral trade with India. Abdali said that Indian and Afghanistan companies had last year signed business agreement worth USD 250 million during the same event held last year.

“Today about a USD 2 million deal has been signed between Indian and Afghanistan companies. We expect many more deals to be signed in next two days,” Abdali said. Indian firm Generous Treasures and Afghanistan Red Gold Saffron at the event signed deal to form a joint-venture firm with equal investments to sell around 2.5 tons of saffron during upcoming season of the crop, representatives of the two-firm said. 

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