President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday inaugurated Afghanistan’s biggest smelting plant as well as the first-ever pine nut processing factory in Kabul, where he said the economic independence of the country is interconnected with its political sovereignty.
Referring to the complaints lodged by industrialists about dumping policies of the neighboring countries, Ghani pledged to raise the issue with these countries and said that Afghanistan will implement similar tariff policies in its commercial ties with neighboring nations.
“I am grateful to the investors that they trust at a time that others think that the situation is complex. Investment attracts the trust of the world and brings employment,” said Ghani.
He vowed to transform Afghanistan from a consumer market to an industrialist exporter nation.
“Our desire is to transform Afghanistan from an importer of industrial materials to an exporter. Industrialization of Afghanistan is a desire as well as action,” said Ghani.
At least $50 million was invested in Maihan Steel and the pine nut processing factory.
Ghani said that Afghanistan has the capacity of exporting over $4 billion agricultural products.
Last year, Afghanistan exported over 1,350 tons of pine nuts to China, according to government figures.
“Bamiyan’s potatoes have good markets in Azerbaijan. I don’t want it to be sent to Pakistan anymore and sent back to us (from there),” said Ghani.
“With consideration of economic importance of pine nuts, Mr. President this year, we will plant more than 8.2 million pine nut saplings,” said Nasir Ahmad Durrani, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.
Head of Maihan Steel, Naqibullah, said trade violations by some neighboring countries are affecting domestic products.
“The reduction of products of neighboring countries and their violations in the prices in markets are at a scale which is not even equivalent to our domestic consumption and this could push our factories to the verge of recession,” said Naqibullah.
“All relevant institutions should be directed to take step towards preventing the smuggling of pine nut,” said Yahya Khan Zadran, head of pine nut exporters union.
At the same event, Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Liu Jinsong said that China is looking to import more products from Afghanistan in the future and will help Afghanistan in areas of industry and processing of the products.
“In the future, China will import more Afghan featured products,” Liu said. “We are also contributing more towards the peace, reconciliation and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.”