1226 GMT August 19, 2019
Mehdi Honardoust told the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) that despite the preferential trade agreement between the two countries, Iran's trade with Afghanistan was five times more than that with Pakistan, reported nation.com.pk.
He said Iran's annual trade with Turkey and China stands at $20 billion and $50 billion respectively, whereas trade with Pakistan was negligible, which was unfortunate.
When informed that his country has imposed high tariffs on some Pakistani products, the ambassador said that a free trade agreement between the two countries would resolve all such problems.
He said Iranians preferred Pakistani products and underlined that Islamabad should step up efforts for early signing of FTA with Iran. He pointed out that Iran's biotechnology sector was better than those of many European countries. Pakistan's economy, he noted, could benefit by enhancing cooperation with Iran in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and other fields.
He said one Iranian company spent $1 million to supply electricity from Iran to Gwadar, but it did not receive an encouraging response from Pakistan. He assured that his embassy would fully cooperate with Pakistani business community in enhancing trade with Iran.
Meanwhile, ICCI President Khalid Iqbal Malik said that Iran maintained a permit system for imports and whenever it wanted to restrict import of certain items, it refused to issue import permits which was also hindering Pakistan's exports to Iran. He asked Iran to review its import permit system to help Pakistani exporters.
Iran could focus on frequent exchange of trade delegations and organizing reciprocal exhibitions to explore new avenues of promote trade, he said.
The official said Pakistan should import gas and electricity from Iran to overcome its energy crisis and facilitate growth in business and industrial activities.