Pakistan, Afghan traders to be part of Punjab trade expo beginning today


Amritsar, December 7

Despite cross-border constraints, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has made possible for the traders from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and Pakistan to be a part of the annual 16th edition of the Punjab International Trade Expo (PITEX).

The international trade expo is scheduled from December 8 to 12 in Amritsar and will be inaugurated by the special children of a local NGO.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has not been granting visa to Pakistani traders since 2017 for the PHDCCI-sponsored trade and cultural event. Similarly, since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, there was a hitch in inviting the traders directly.

Nonetheless, the Pakistani traders who possess SAARC visa, with negligible intervention from the MEA, would face no glitch to come to India. On the other hand, the Afghani traders, who have moved to India before the Taliban came into power, but had trade ties in their native place too, can travel freely. They have also given their nod to participate in the PITEX.

RS Sachdeva, chair, Punjab chapter, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Pakistani traders had not been participating for five years due to visa restrictions.

“This time, three women entrepreneurs from Pakistan have confirmed their participation in individual capacity and several Afghani traders, settled here, too have booked stalls. This implies that the visitors will not miss famous articles and fashion line of Pakistan along with the authentic Afghani dry fruit, herbal and Unani medicines,” he said.

Apart from Afghanistan, traders from Turkey, Egypt and Thailand would be there, he added. Deputy Commissioner (DC) Harpreet Singh Sudan said a session on investment promotion would be held on December 10, for which Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann would be the chief guest. Minister for Investment promotion Gagan Anmol Mann would be the guest of honour for a session on sustainability and green hydrogen on the same day, he added.

“Ten stalls have been reserved for the district administration to give a platform to our registered craftsmen, self-help groups and NGOs,” the DC said.

Naveen Seth, assistant secretary general, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said over 450 exhibitors from various states and across the globe would participate in the expo.

Besides, many reputed industries of the state, the Ministry of MSME and Textiles, NABARD, National Small Industries Corporation, Jute Board, KVIC, Invest Punjab and various ministries of the state and Centre will be there in the expo.