EghtesadOnline: President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on Monday met with Pakistan's ambassador to the Islamic Republic to discuss ways of boosting trade.
ICCIMA chief, Gholamhossein Shafei, said the ports of Gwadar in Pakistan and Rajaee in Iran can be tapped to develop bilateral trade.
"But unfortunately they haven't been employed suitably so far, or a majority of measures undertaken have been in the form of agreements that have yet to materialize," he was quoted as saying by the official news website of ICCIMA on Tuesday.
More importantly, he added, "most trade transactions conducted between Iran and Pakistan are in the form of unofficial trade".
According to Financial Tribune, Shafei pointed out that a number of Iranian products ultimately find their way into the Pakistani markets through third parties after going through another country and called for immediately devising ways of boosting trade.
"One crucial measure would be for Pakistan to revise its customs tariffs for Iranian products," he said.
An Iranian trade delegation comprising 25 businesspeople is now in Pakistan for developing trade cooperation with counterparts.
Pakistan's Ambassador to Iran Rifat Masood said Pakistan is also eager to expand bilateral trade ties and looks forward to removing bilateral trade hurdles.
"While imports of rice or meat from Pakistan to Iran have been banned for the past four months, these goods exist in the Iranian market, indicating unofficial trade and third-party countries," she said.
Masood conceded that Pakistani import tariffs for Iranian goods are high, but at the same time said resolving the issue also requires Iran's cooperation.
"Elimination of third-party countries and establishment of free trade between Iran and Pakistan depend on reforming the banking system of Iran and approving FATF-related regulations," she said, referring to regulations set by the global anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force.
> Pakistan-Iran Trade Committee on the Cards
Pakistan and Iran on Monday agreed to set up a trade committee comprising officials of both countries, to expand rail connections and provide concessions on food trade.
These decisions were taken during the first session of Iran-Pakistan trade session held in Quetta. The meeting was jointly chaired by Quetta Customs Collector Ashraf Ali and the head of Iranian delegation, Nadir Mir, the Express Tribune reported.
The session reviewed trade opportunities, including promotion of banking and trade cooperation between the two Muslim neighboring countries.
“There is an immediate need to resolve the issues causing hurdles in trade between Pakistan and Iran. The session will be beneficial in increasing our trade with Iran,” said Ali, adding that Pakistan seeks to functionalize the banking sector with Iran.
The session stressed upon joint efforts to end the deprivation in Pakistan's Balochistan and Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan border provinces, highlighting that legal trade would be beneficial for developing these provinces.
> Iran Finds Investment Avenues in Sindh
Pakistan’s southern Sindh Province offers vast business opportunities and Iranian entrepreneurs can benefit by investing in different projects of the province, said Iran's Consul General in Karachi Ahmad Mohammadi.
Mohammadi, speaking to IRNA, said Iran is willing to provide Pakistan with technical and engineering services in all sectors.
He added that the two countries enjoy geographical proximity and trade between them should be enhanced, which would help boost bilateral ties.
The consul general stressed the need for exchanging delegations between the business communities of the two sides.
Mohammadi noted that after a gap of 15 years, many Iranian companies participated in Pakistan’s industrial expo held recently in Karachi.
“Many Iranian companies and entrepreneurs showcased their products in the expo,” he said.