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Foreign Affairs

Large Pakistani delegation to participate in Tehran Expo 2018

Islamabad, Chairman of Pakistan-Iran Business Council (PIBC) says that a large delegation of Pakistani businessmen will participate in Tehran Expo 2018 from October 20-23 with an aim to explore the Iranian market.

In an interview with IRNA, Syed Ali Reza Razavi said Iran and Pakistan have already agreed to enhance their bilateral trade to $5 billion by 2021 as the current trade volume is around $1.16 billion.

He said that it is very encouraging to see that new Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan in his first speech has expressed desire to work closely with Iran.

Member of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) expressing his views said that business communities of the two countries should enter into joint ventures and sign MoUs which would pave the way for Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

He added that despite lack of banking channel the two countries are doing trade using alternative mechanisms.

Syed Ali Reza Razavi went on to say that rice is main Pakistani product which covers most of the Pakistani exports to Iran due to its high quality and flavor. He noted that Iran is the second top importer of rice in the world and is a big market for Pakistani rice.

He added that both countries need to take more measures to further enhance their rice trade.

It is good that Iran's exports to Pakistan in the first quarter (March 21-June 20) of this year (started on March 21) rose by 61 percent compared to the figure in the same period the previous year, he said.

China, the UAE, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, India and Turkey have been among the most important target markets for the Iranian exported goods in the first three months of this Iranian year.

Syed Ali Reza Razavi said that Iran and Pakistan have already signed Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) which should be further expanded.

The businessman added that lack of banking channel between Iran and Pakistan is a major hurdle to expansion of the bilateral trade ties. He said that in 2017 central banks of Iran and Pakistan signed a currency swap agreement which is yet to be implemented.

He said that unfortunately there are international pressures on Pakistan regarding trade with Iran.

Member of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) added that India is doing $18 billion trade with Iran so Pakistan should also take steps to improve its trade with Iran.

We can do barter trade with Iran, he suggested.

He said that lack of information about the capabilities of Iran and Pakistan in the business communities of the two neighboring countries is also hindering the promotion of bilateral trade.

He appreciated the role of Iran embassy in providing facilities for traders of Pakistan. We have lot of scope in business with Iran, he said. He however said that multiple visas should be issued to Pakistani businessman so that they could travel to Iran frequently.

Syed Ali Reza Razavi said Pakistan can export food related items, leather, sports products, surgical items, textile goods to Iran and in return can import, chemicals, building materials, saffron, pharmaceutical products, dairy products, dry frits, juices, chocolates, honey and many other products.

He said that Iran and Pakistan should form a think tank to enhance bilateral trade and reviewing the status of agreements or MoUs signed by the two countries.

He said business communities of both countries are unaware of each other's capabilities and opportunities available in trade sector.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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