Pakistan & Iran Discuss Trade Issues

ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, ahead of the visit of Iranian president’s to Pakistan, Ministry of Commerce explored avenues to lift the bilateral trade to $5 billion in 5 years after elating of  the international sanctions.

In a meeting that was led by Khurram Dastgir Khan, the Commerce Minister, various suggestions came under discussion in order to boost & diversify the exports. 2 visiting officials of Iranian trade ministry were also present in the meeting.

Pakistan’s exports to Iran are restricted to a few products as 63% of the proceeds come only from rice. Exports to Iran from Pakistan fell to $43 million in year 2014 from $182 million in year 2010, while the imports plunged to $186 million in year 2014 from $884 million in year 2010. United Nations sanctions on Iran was the major cause behind this drop.

The collector customs of Quetta informed in the summit that there was a threefold increase in revenue at Iran-Pakistan border. The spokesperson of the State Bank reported that there were no limitations on trade through the formal banking channels.

The commerce minister also informed Iranian officials that Pakistan was interested in holding the exhibitions.

Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan also stated that Pakistan desired to diversify its export basket to Iran by exporting value-added textile products, light engineering products and home appliances.

The summit was informed about the high demand for food items in Iran, & that Pakistan had already secured an export order of 100 tonnes of meat.

The commerce minister stated that the relevant authorities in Iran’s health ministry would be persuaded to fast-track authorization of licenses to the Pakistani rice mills.

Both the sides have already discussed the freight train operations on a steady basis. Pakistan proposed that until the freight traffic picks up, the Iranian authorities might also introduce concessionary freight traffic by the rail between Quetta-Zahedan section.

Pakistan had also sought a comeback from the Iran on non-tariff & tariff barriers. Iran had diverted its trade towards Turkey & India in the last 4 years, & there’s a noticeable upsurge in its bilateral trade with these 2 countries in the recent year.

Pakistan had also, in 2006 signed a preferential trade agreement with Iran, but there have been little profits because of the high tariff on Pakistan’s exportable products.