(Commerce): Iranian CG calls for strengthening Pak-Iran trade ties

Karachi: Iranian Consul General Reza Nazeri on Friday stressed the need for strengthening trade ties between two neighboring countries, saying Iran is ready for barter trade and it will export petrochemical, steel and LPG to Pakistan while importing rice, meat and other agriculture products from Pakistan.

While addressing the second meeting of The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Pak-Iran Business Council held here at its regional office, the Iranian Consul General said that Iranian Consulate of Lahore is ready to facilitate Pakistan’s private sector to promote bilateral trade and investment.

We are trying the restore air link between Tehran and Lahore as early as possible which was suspended due to Covid-19, also affecting tourism sector of Iran, he added. He lamented that the volume of two-way trade between Pakistan and Iran is negligible, as the mutual trade of two countries does not match their respective potentials.

Reza Nazeri observed that Pakistan and Iran have the potential to cater to each other’s needs provided the businessmen have the exposure to the available opportunities. The business community in the two countries would have to increase interaction to share their experiences in the larger interests of the people of two brotherly nations, he added. He said the chambers of commerce in the two countries would have to focus on expansion of trade by holding single-country exhibitions and through trade delegations to each other’s country. Dissemination of sector-specific and trade-related information would go a long way in achieving the goal.

The Iranian Consul General said that agriculture, tourism and metal industry of Iran have opportunities of investment and Pakistani business community should come forward. Earlier, addressing the meeting FPCCI President Mian Anjum Nisar welcomed the FPCCI’s Pak-Iran Business Council’s second meeting which was also graced by Iran Consul General Reza Nazeri and director general of ICCIA and ICCIMA Dr. Muhammad Reza Karbasi.

He said that both brotherly Islamic countries have been enjoying amicable business relations. “I admit that the advantages like common religion and traditional values, geographical connectivity and interdependence of work of our economics have not been materialized in true perspective,” he added.

He said that the analysis of bilateral trade shows that the trade between the two countries is growing at a very slow pace, as current volume of bilateral trade is just 359 million dollars out of which Pakistan exports to Iran accounts for 36 million dollar against the imports of 323 million dollars.

Mian Anjum Nisar said that some of the hurdles that are the reasons for low volume of trade and impeding the growth of trade between the two countries include ignorance about each other’s’ potential and non-utilization of the territorial connectivity. “In addition to these the tariff and non-tariff barriers are major obstacles in the way of trade enhancement between both neighboring countries.”

He said that all the four traditional transportation modes are available for bilateral trade between and Pakistan and Iran including air, sea, road and rail but unfortunately none of these modes of transportation are efficiently and economically are being utilized at present. The businessmen have been emphasizing that the transportation facilities must be improved for the enhancement in economic relations.

The transportation through land routes and railways need to be improved properly to facilitate the exporters of both sides, he added. He urged both countries to issue transport licenses by equal number of vehicles to freely work across the border, as through this step the exporters of both the countries would be able to get direct access to the consumers.

The other step is to provide proper and complete information about the products of both the countries which can be done by organizing single country exhibitions, he suggested. Actually, various decisions regarding the expansion of trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Iran has been taken up previously, he said and added that unfortunately, due to the instable and un-predictable international and regional political processes, these have remain slow.

FPCCI President said that Iran and Pakistan are member of emerging SCO and ECO blocks. Geographical location of both countries affects their neighboring countries. It’s required that both countries should seek various avenues of cooperation for penetration of their products in these markets.

We should study and review our bilateral PTA and incorporate various avenues of investment that has been emerging due to changing regional dynamics, he added. FPCCI President reassured the Iranian consul general that the apex chamber of the country would continue to play its role for increasing bilateral trade and economic relations.

Mr. Zahid Iqbal Ch. Vice President FPCCI, Dr. Mohammad Reza Karbasi, Director General of ICCIA and ICCIMA, Mr. Ali Asghar, Commercial Counselor, Mr. Najam-ul- Hassan, Chairman FPCCI Pak-Iran Business Council, and Syed Ali Raza Rizvi, Senior Vice Chairman FPCCI Pak-Iran Business also spoke on the occasion.