Afghanistan establishes air route for trade with China

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – Afghanistan established an air corridor for direct trade with China on Tuesday which would see export of some 23,000 metric tons of pine nuts worth $800 million.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani was flanked by other top officials and Chinese diplomats as the first consignment of the Shanghai-bound export departed from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Ghani said pine nuts and pistachios in particular are national assets of the country and should be exported to the world under the brand of ‘Afghan Treasures’. He lamented the fact these products were being exported globally via neighboring countries through their own labels for decades.

According to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, the country produces up to 20,000 tons of pine nuts every year, expressing hopes that exports to China alone would fetch up to $800 million annually.

Landlocked Afghanistan has already established air corridors for trade with Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the past two years. More such routes are under consideration. Fresh fruit, dry fruit, medicinal herbs, carpets, gemstones, and asafoetida have been the main exports on these routes.

Afghan officials vowed to establish similar air corridors with Beijing and Quanzhou as well.