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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Mehdi Honardoost has urged Pakistan to step up efforts for early finalization of the free trade agreement (FTA), Dawn reports.

The demand came from the envoy at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) where he was addressing the business community of the federal capital, IRNA reported.

“It is unfortunate that trade with Pakistan is almost negligible”, he said, adding that Iran has $20 billion annual bilateral trade with Turkey and $50bn with China.

Pakistan has already sent the draft of the FTA to Tehran and is awaiting response. Both sides estimate to increase bilateral trade to $5bn from the existing $1bn in the next five years in the wake of the FTA.

Honardoost said Pakistan and Iran have tremendous potential to promote bilateral trade in various sectors, but lack of payment mechanism through banking channels was the major hurdle in realising these goals.

He assured that his embassy would fully cooperate with Pakistani business community in enhancing trade with Iran.

Iran-Pakistan trade Mehdi Honardoost