Iran, Pakistan target $5 bn trade

Referring to the signing of two memorandums of understanding, Nourian said the first MoU was signed for setting up a Joint Business Council between Iran and Pakistan, while the second one was inked in connection with arbitration of commercial disputes.

In addition, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Isfahan Chamber of Commerce signed an MoU for improving cooperation between the business communities of the two countries.

Exchanging views during his visit to KCCI, the Iranian consul general said the most important development was the removal of banned commodities from the list of items to be imported from Pakistan under the Iran-Pakistan PTA.

Trade Development Authority of Pakistan’s Chief Executive Zubair Motiwala, KCCI President Mohammed Tariq Yousuf, Senior Vice President Touseef Ahmed, Vice President Muhammad Haris Agar, Chairman of Diplomatic Missions and Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Zia ul Arfeen, former presidents Majyd Aziz and Iftikhar Vohra attended the meeting.

Nourian said the 1,000-km shared border puts the countries in a perfect position to meet each other’s demand for necessities, including the supply of Iranian natural gas, crude oil and petrochemical products, and Pakistani agricultural products.

Identifying the lack of a banking channel as the main obstacle to smooth trade transactions, Nourian said that to deal with this issue, Iran has suggested that the Pakistani government and the State Bank allow trade via national currencies of both countries, or by opening of an Iranian bank branch in Karachi, in addition to devising a barter trade mechanism, Financial Tribune reported.

A barter trade agreement was signed between the trade ministries of Iran and Pakistan, and Quetta and Zahedan chambers of commerce were allowed to begin barter trade. However, due to some technical issues, barter trade had yet not commenced.

He also said that on Motiwala’s invitation, Chairman of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Alireza Peymanpak would visit Karachi on Jan. 16 to sign an MoU with TDAP, focusing on removing trade barriers and exploring ways to enhance trade relations.

The TPO chief would also participate in Iran’s Single Country Exhibition at Karachi Expo Center starting Jan. 16.

Motiwala, while warmly welcoming Iran’s initiative to hold an exhibition in Karachi, assured of TDAP’s full support and cooperation along with KCCI’s assistance in organizing this important event. 

“KCCI, which is regularly holding My Karachi Exhibition since many years, has the required expertise for staging such events and is ready to fully assist Iran so that its solo exhibition could be organized in an impressive manner,” he said.

Confectionary, petroleum, plastic and many other products, in which Iran holds expertise, can be imported to Pakistan, whereas tea, rice, fabrics, garments and several other products can be exported to Iran, he added.

KCCI President Tariq Yousuf said it was heartening that KCCI and the Isfahan Chamber of Commerce recently signed a landmark MoU to establish a practical framework for the development of business relations.

The MoU would set forth the procedures of cooperation, which could help achieve mutual economic objectives between the two chambers.

Referring to negotiations on free trade agreement, he said that if this materializes, it would revive Pakistan-Iran bilateral trade to the next level and develop deep financial and economic cooperation.

He also stressed the need to expand the barter trade basket by adding more products to capitalize and facilitate importers and exporters of both countries, which would certainly deepen Pakistan-Iran economic integration.

Yousuf noted that Pakistan-Iran Trade Committee has agreed to ensure the phased implementation of border markets and investors’ access to the special economic zones to enhance bilateral trade, strengthen cross-border economic cooperation and discourage illegal border trade by improving formal trade between the two countries.