Pakistan and Uzbekistan have exchanged goods through war-torn Afghanistan for the first time, in a move hailed as a milestone for regional economic integration.
A Pakistani cargo truck transported medicine from the port city of Karachi on April 9 to the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, via Kabul. It arrived on May 4. An Uzbek cargo truck then took a shipment of leather products from Tashkent on May 9 and arrived at the Afghan-Pakistani border (Torkham crossing) on May 11. It then was trucked to Faisalabad on May 13.
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The project has received technical and financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The agency said the initiative is intended to “boost regional trade integration and connectivity.”
The shipments were made under the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Convention, a customs agreement that facilitates the international transport of goods. The multilateral treaty eliminates the need to pay customs duties and taxes. Afghanistan rejoined the TIR after a 30-year suspension in 2013, while Pakistan joined in 2017.
Pakistani media reports said Islamabad wants to import more Uzbek goods, including coal, fertilizers, and textiles.