Iranian. Pakistani Merchants after Boosting Trade

Businessmen from Tehran Chamber of Commerce. Industries. Mines and Agriculture held several meetings with officials and traders of Pakistani port city of Karachi where the two sides urged their respective governments to ease banking relations to enhance bilateral trade.

A delegation of Tehran Chamber of Commerce. Industries. Mines and Agriculture led by its President Masoud Khansari visited Pakistani port city of Karachi and met with officials of local trade bodies. Consul General of Iran in Karachi Ahmad Mohammadi was also present during the meetings.

The delegation held important meetings with the officials of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI).

The two sides during the meetings discussed ways to boost trade and business cooperation between Iran and Pakistan.

Noting the close cultural. religious and historical ties between Iran and Pakistan they expressed dissatisfaction with the current level of bilateral economic ties despite immense potential.  

They said that both countries should take practical steps to remove impediments in the bilateral trade which could help the two sides to take the bilateral trade volume from $ 5 billion to $ 10 billion in the future.

Officials from both chambers of commerce called upon the governments of Iran and Pakistan to take effective measures to resume banking relations between the two countries.

During the meetings. the two sides discussed barter trade and discussed ways to implement it.

They agreed that a delegation of Pakistani businessmen and traders would visit Iran after three months to explore trade opportunities available in the country.

Iran and Pakistan signed a preferential trade agreement in 2006 to boost exchanges but trade began to fall after 2008 because of Western sanctions on Tehran.

According to Pakistan Business Council (PBC). bilateral trade volume stood at $369 million as of 2018.

Pakistan exports paper and paperboard. rice and stationary products to Iran while it imports liquefied petroleum gas. other mineral fuels and electrical energy from Iran.

The potential for trade between the two countries. however. is estimated at $10 billion.

Iran sells 1.000 megawatts of electricity to Pakistan and plans to increase this up to 3.000 megawatts to cover some 4.000 megawatts of shortfall in the country.   

Pakistan has yet to complete its part of a gas project to pipe Iranian gas to the country.

The $7 billion project. dubbed the peace pipeline. was conceived in the 1990s to connect Iran’s giant South Pars gas field to the subcontinent. but New Delhi quit it in 2009.

Iran has already completed work on the pipeline on its part. but the Pakistani government has not.

Last month. a Pakistani lawyer called for the government to be pushed on completing a gas pipeline with Iran at the earliest.

Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel asked Peshawar High Court to seek directive for the government to implement the much-delayed pipeline.

Iran. Kakakhel said. had offered Pakistan $500 million to help with the construction of the pipelines. but due to the US pressure Pakistan could not complete the pipeline within the stipulated time.

Pakistan has violated the terms and condition of the agreement and may face heavy penalties in near future. Karachi-based Dawn newspaper quoted him as saying.

According to the lawyer. there is dire need of gas and oil in Pakistan that can be imported easily from Iran but the government has not been availing that option.

Last week. Tehran and Islamabad moved towards increasing bilateral exchanges in economic areas related to information and communication technologies (ICT). determined to promote bilateral scientific and technological ties and expand areas and fields of economic interactions.

During a two-day meeting. which was held in Islamabad on Thursday and Friday between senior tech authorities from both sides. Iran and Pakistan established a joint working group on information and communication technologies (ICT) as an adjunct unit of the Iran-Pakistan Border Trade Committee.

Late in last month. in a meeting with Iran`s Ambassador to Pakistan Mohammad Ali Hosseini. Pakistan’s Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Affairs Nadeem Babar said that his country is committed to broaden cooperation with Iran in the energy sector.

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