We welcome the announcement by Presidents Karzai and Zardari of the full implementation on June 12 of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). This step is a concrete demonstration of the common shared vision of development, prosperity and peace the two Presidents share, and it will make a significant contribution to regional stability.
The APTTA was concluded after years of effort and replaces an outdated agreement dating from 1965. It is a major breakthrough, demonstrating strong economic and political cooperation between the two countries. To complete implementation, both countries demonstrated their continuing commitment to work together to overcome technical and political obstacles.
Full implementation of the agreement will provide a boost to the economies of both countries by reducing the costs and delays in transport between Pakistan and Afghanistan – and serve as a model for the region. It will help both countries expand their reach to world markets and improve the competitiveness of Afghanistan’s exports. It will also help reduce cross-border smuggling, increase government revenues from legitimate trade, and have a multiplier effect as supporting services grow to support increased trade.
Both countries have already expressed interest in extending APTTA’s reach through negotiations with interested countries in Central Asia. The United States and other partners support APTTA’s role in strengthening regional cooperation and building prosperity. We believe other agreements and concrete projects, along with APTTA, will help reinforce and create links for trade, investment, and transport of goods, ideas and people from Almaty to the Indian Ocean.
The United States is proud of the facilitating role it played with our partners to reach this outcome, and we remain committed to assisting them and their neighbors to accelerate the regional momentum.