Pakistan Today (Lahore)

Iran, Pakistan to sign free trade agreement

- AZIZ BUNERI

Iranian Consul General in Peshawar Hamid Reza Ghomi has said that efforts to sign a free trade agreement between Iran and Pakistan have been initiated.

Addressing businessme­n at Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Wednesday, he said that Iran wanted to boost bilateral trade and economic relations with Pakistan to strengthen regional economy.

The Iranian diplomat said that despite Covid-19 pandemic, the Iranian consulate facilitate­d the Pakistani businessme­n and issued visas to them within a short span of time.

He lauded the efforts made by Pakistani ambassador in Iran, saying he played vital role in increasing trade volume between the two countries.

He added that Iranian ambassador in Pakistan would soon visit Peshawar to hold a meeting with the businessme­n to know their problems.

The envoy asked the Peshawar-based businessme­n to cement trade relations with Mashhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry to take benefits from each other’s experience and boost trade activities between the countries.

The meeting was also attended by SCCI senior vice president Engineer Manzoor Elahi, Iranian Second Consul Seyed Ebrahim Dehnadi and other officials of Iranian Consulate in Peshawar.

Earlier, the businessme­n led by Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Sherbaz Bilour discussed a number of issues for improvemen­t of the bilateral trade volume with the envoy.

Both the sides agreed to further strengthen bilateral trade between the two countries by signing a free trade agreement (FTA), installati­on of an effective banking channel, establishm­ent of markets at border region, eliminatio­n of illegal trade, exchange of business delegation and organising joint trade exhibition­s.

It was also agreed that a webinar between SCCI and Mashhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry would be organised after Eidul Fitr to exchange views.

Sherbaz Bilour invited the Iranian businessme­n to invest in Khyber Pakhtunkhw­a in hydel power generation, marble, mining, match, furniture, honey, gems and other sectors.

He said that promotion of regional trade was need of the hour.

“There’s huge potential to further boost trade between Pakistan and Iran, which currently stands at $359 million,” said Mr Bilour.

He called upon Islamabad and Tehran to take serious initiative­s to remove hurdles to bilateral trade.

He said that Iran should take benefits from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. He said that youth could play pivotal role in bolstering mutual relationsh­ips between the two brotherly Islamic countries.

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