MoU on Strate­gic Trade Co­op­er­a­tion with Iran to boost trade: ICCI

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

The Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoU) on Five-Year Strate­gic Trade Co­op­er­a­tion Plan signed be­tween Pak­istan and Iran dur­ing the re­cent visit of Ira­nian Pres­i­dent, Dr. Has­san Rouhani would pave way for pro­mot­ing bi­lat­eral trade be­tween the two coun­tries up to their real po­ten­tial. Pres­i­dent, Islamabad Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (ICCI), Atif Ikram Sheikh said that dur­ing the sev­enth Pak­istan-Iran Joint Trade Com­mit­tee meet­ing held in Tehran in April 2015, both coun­tries had agreed to en­hance bi­lat­eral trade to US$ 5 bil­lion. In a state­ment, he hoped that fiveyear strate­gic trade co­op­er­a­tion plan would be in­stru­men­tal in re­al­iz­ing this goal. He hailed the land­mark agree­ment be­tween Pak­istan and Iran to open two new cross­ing points along their bor­der as it would fa­cil­i­tate trade and peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tacts be­tween the two broth­erly Is­lamic coun­tries. He said de­spite huge trade po­ten­tial, PakIran bi­lat­eral trade be­tween the two coun­tries has re­mained low. He iden­ti­fied non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers of Iran, its high cus­toms duty on

prod­ucts of Pak­istan's in­ter­est like tex­tiles, its com­pli­cated im­port pro­cesses, lack of en­abling in­fra­struc­ture, poor rail, road and air links and less num­ber of land routs as the key rea­sons of low trade vol­ume be­tween the two coun­tries and stressed that both coun­tries should fo­cus on ad­dress­ing these is­sues in or­der to im­prove twoway trade.

The Pres­i­dent, ICCI said trade be­tween Pak­istan and Iran was con­fined to lim­ited items as Pak­istan mostly im­ported oil and gas from Iran and ex­ported rice and meat to Iran. He stressed that both coun­tries should fo­cus on di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of trade to achieve bet­ter re­sults. He said Pak­istan could ex­port many prod­ucts to Iran in­clud­ing fruits, tex­tiles, sur­gi­cal items, sports goods, gems and jew­elry etc. He urged that both coun­tries should ex­plore mak­ing joint in­vest­ments in agro-food pro­cess­ing and in­fra­struc­ture, par­tic­u­larly in the field of es­tab­lish­ing ef­fec­tive rail, air, road and sea links to im­prove trade re­la­tions. He said trade through Gwadar Port and Chah­ba­har Port would be ben­e­fi­cial for both coun­tries and they should take mea­sures to make it pos­si­ble. Atif Ikram Sheikh said that Iran was en­dowed with rich nat­u­ral re­sources pos­sess­ing the world's sec­ond largest gas re­serves while Pak­istan was en­ergy de­fi­cient coun­try.

He said Pak­istan should de­velop close en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion with Iran to cope with en­ergy cri­sis by im­port­ing gas and elec­tric­ity. He was hope­ful that the cur­rent visit of Dr. Has­san Rouhani would con­trib­ute to­wards ex­plor­ing new av­enues of di­ver­si­fy­ing trade and strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion in en­ergy sec­tor on win-win situation.

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