EghtesadOnline: Iran exported 2.26 million tons of commodities worth $867 million to Pakistan during the nine months to Dec. 21, 2019, to register a 20% rise in tonnage and a 3% decline in value compared with last year’s corresponding period.
Pakistan had a 2.7% share in Iran’s total exports during the period, Donya-e-Eqtesad reported, citing data provided by Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
Pakistan exported 293,000 tons of goods worth $331 million to Iran during the same period to register a 48% and 58% growth in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year, Financial Tribune reported.
Pakistan had a 1% share in Iran’s total imports during the period under review.
Tax authorities of Pakistan and Iran on Monday agreed to develop a mechanism for the electronic exchange of bilateral trade data to curb misreporting and explore optimal economic potential.
Pakistan's Federal Board of Revenue signed a memorandum of understanding on the electronic exchange of data with the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration. Acting Chairperson Nausheen Javaid Amjad oversaw the MoU signing ceremony between member for customs policy/operation, Javed Ghani, and Iranian official Haideh Baqeripour, Pakistan's largest English-language newspaper The News International reported.
As per the agreement, the two countries would exchange values/documents on real-time basis regarding imported/exported goods and the launch of a fully automated clearance system, having advance information, about goods/passengers at Taftan-Mirjaveh border stations (as a pilot project) and at other border stations in a phased manner.
Amjad said the implementation of the MoU would have a number of benefits for both FBR and IRICA, as it would ensure the availability of advance information about values, descriptions and quality of the goods to be imported into Pakistan from Iran and reduce costs on clearance of goods at the borders.
“The accurate valuation of imported goods will lead to the realization of greater revenues,” she said in a statement.
Iran and Pakistan signed a preferential trade agreement in 2006 to boost bilateral trade. However, the increase was not sustained, as it began to fall after 2008 with western sanctions tightening against Iran. As of 2018, bilateral trade volume stood at $369 million, which was less than the trade value in 2003, according to Pakistan Business Council.
Pakistan has had a trade deficit with Iran since 2003. Exports peaked in 2008 at $426 million and have been on a decline since then. As of 2018, exports to Iran stood below $23 million. More than three-fourths of exports to Iran are generated by a single product i.e. colored paper.
From a peak of almost $956 million in 2009, imports from Iran declined to $374 million in 2018. Only four products constitute more than 56% of Pakistan’s total imports from Iran, PBC data showed.
The country exports paper and paperboard, rice and stationary products to Iran while it imports liquefied petroleum gas, other mineral fuels and electrical energy from Iran.
However, the potential for trade between the two countries is immense with the top 20 high potential export items for Pakistan having a potential of $1.9 billion. On the import side, the top 20 items had an import potential of $7.2 billion, according to PBC.
Ambassador of Iran in Pakistan Ali Hosseini said there are a number of important areas wherein both customs administrations could work together in the best interests of Iran and Pakistan.
Pakistan and Iran signed the first customs mutual assistance agreement in 2004 under which FBR was to make progress on a number of important areas for protecting Pakistan’s economic interests in its trade with Iran. Subsequently, a series of meetings were held between the two sides.
The FBR official said the cooperation proposed under the MoU would go a long way in fostering long-term relations between their customs administrations and enable them to successfully overcome challenges.
“The implementation of this MoU will ensure optimum trade facilitation through the quick examination/assessment of imported goods and more transparency and lesser human interface,” he said.
Ghani assured IRICA of cooperation from Pakistan’s customs department in any area pertaining to mutual assistance and collaboration.