Afghanistan Keen on Re-Opening Commerical Office in Kolkata

Afghanistan Keen on Re-Opening Commerical Office in Kolkata

Afghanistan today said it was interested in re-opening its commercial office in Kolkata to give a thrust to trade with the eastern part of the country.

"We had an embassy office in Kolkata which was closed down in 1928. I have suggested to my country to open consular and commercial office here in Kolkata to boost trade relation," Ambassador of Afghanistan in India Shaida Mohammad Abdali said here today at MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"We will also try to hold discussion with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Governor tomorrow and will put forward a proposal for an agreement for sister-city status between Kolkata and Mazaresarif of Afghanistan," he said.

Abdali recalled the long trade and cultural relation with this city.

The envoy encouraged city entrepreneurs to tap the business opportunity in the country and tried to allay security concerns.

"No country is immune to security concerns. We face a challenge but the situation is not that bad which can stop business," Abdali said.

The Ambassador remained confident about USD 10 billion investment by AFISCO (Afghanistan Iron & Steel Consortium) winning three mines in Hajigak province.

"This is major investment for us. Now, the mining law is also passed to facilitate investment into mining," he said.

When asked whether security concerns are holding back rollout of the project, he said that now the consortium is waiting for logistics and evacuation rather than security concerns.

A rail link has been proposed between Chabahar port and Hajigak. India was also keen on developing the port that will open up an alternate trade link with the land-locked country. Currently, the trade is conducted through Pakistan.

"The draft MoU transit trade agreement had been submitted to Iran by India and Afghanistan. India has also offered USD 200 million to develop the port," Abdali said.

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