Afghan eyes Iran deal to boost trade to Europe, India

By REUTERS
July 28, 2013 16:19

 
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KABUL - Afghanistan hopes an agreement with Iran to use one of its ports will help boost exports to Europe and India and reduce its dependence on neighboring Pakistan's ports for trade.

Iran will allow land-locked Afghanistan to use the port to export goods like fruit and carpets to India and other countries, according to the spokesman for Afghanistan's Ministry of Commerce and Industries.

"We want to export to central Asia and Europe, India wants to use the port to send goods to Afghanistan," Wahidullah Ghazikhel told Reuters.

Afghanistan currently relies on the port of Karachi in Pakistan for the bulk of its sea exports.

But that leaves traders vulnerable to political disputes between the United States and Pakistan, which has closed its border with Afghanistan at least twice over recent years, cutting U.S. military supplies to Afghanistan, as well as routine trade.

"If the Pakistani government's relationship with the United States goes bad, this impacts our traders," Ghazikhel said.


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