Chabahar exemption from sanctions really contributory for Afghan, Indian economies?

May 21, 2019 - 19:52

Despite what it appears at first glance, the U.S. is not going to help the people of Afghanistan through what is called “Chabahar Port’s exemption from sanctions”, but it in fact increases the transit costs of their commodities by imposing sanctions on Iran and consequently putting further restrictions on Afghan merchants.

Analyses reveal that imposing sanctions on Iran as the most secured and less expensive access route for Afghanistan, implies imposing sanctions on Afghanistan as well.

As far as the India is concerned, the significant point is that the India’s commodities to be transit to Afghanistan are not extensive and voluminous enough to rationalize marine and road transportation expenses and to create a significant growth in India’s balance of trade. Bearing in mind the trade volume of Afghanistan, Russia and CIS countries which altogether are more than 16 million tons and the insignificant share of Afghanistan, it could be concluded that without making possible the transportation of all India’s merchandise to above mentioned countries through Chabahar Port, the so called exemption of this port does not make any noticeable change in India’s trade.

Therefore, Chabahar Port’s exemption will only be a competitive advantage for India, if all Indian merchandise toward Afghanistan, Russia and CIS countries could be transported through Chabahar Port without any restriction in banking and insurance transactions.

The noteworthy point about Afghanistan is that the exemption of Chabahar Port will only be fruitful, if there is no any prohibition on entering and leaving Chabahar Port for vessels carrying Afghanistan’s merchandise; as well as commercial transactions of cargo owners, merchants and shipping lines, particularly banking transactions are done without limitation.

By Behrooz Aghaei, the head of Sistan-Baluchestan Ports and Maritime Department

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