ISLAMABAD: Pakistan intends to improve bilateral trade and economic ties with Iran, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production Abdul Razak Dawood.
He made the remarks while talking to an Iranian delegation, led by Minister of Industry, Mines and Business Reza Rahmani, during first session of the 8th Pak-Iran Joint Trade Committee held to review progress on issues relating to bilateral trade.
The adviser underlined the importance of issues pertaining to two-way trade, which were discussed during the prime minister’s recent visit to Iran, and expected positive response from the Iranian side.
These issues included removing barriers which made Pak-Iran preferential trade agreement – signed in 2006 – ineffective and establishing a barter trade mechanism in order to ramp up bilateral trade in agriculture, food and pharmaceutical products. Pakistan advised to remain neutral in US-Iran standoff
“To start barter trade, both countries should select a few items having competitive advantage,” he asserted. “In this regard, Pakistan can enhance export of wheat, sugar, rice and fruits to Iran.”
The adviser apprised the delegation that bilateral trade was not up to the true potential and urged Iran to take necessary measures to remove non-trade barriers so that the real potential could be tapped.
He also suggested elimination of various forms of taxes such as road and load taxes on vehicles/trucks, which crossed the borders, to facilitate trade between the two nations.
During the meeting, Iran expressed keen interest in importing 500,000 tons of rice from Pakistan. It urged Pakistan to establish a necessary mechanism for early shipment of rice.
Speaking during the meeting, Rahmani appreciated Dawood’s stance on bilateral trade issues and agreed to step up efforts to enhance trade with Pakistan in order to improve economic wellbeing of both countries. He promised to address all the issues which were hampering bilateral trade and assured the PM aide of creating a win-win situation for both sides.
The Iranian side acknowledged the fact that Pakistan-Iran trade relations did not match the real potential and emphasised the need for constituting a committee for barter trade.
“Both the countries have a huge potential in agriculture, which has not yet been exploited,” the delegation highlighted.
Iran extended full support for removing potential bottlenecks in order to enhance trade and jointly develop a way forward.
Furthermore, it requested Pakistan government to open more border points between Pakistan and Iran mainly at Ramdan, Pishin and Korak, which would uplift bilateral trade.