News ID: 196564
Published: 0216 GMT July 12, 2017

Bright horizon for Pakistan-Iran trade despite hurdles: Official

Bright horizon for Pakistan-Iran trade despite hurdles: Official

A senior official of Pakistan's Commerce Ministry has expressed optimism that Iran and Pakistan would be able to achieve the target of $5 billion in bilateral trade in coming years despite some hurdles.

Bilal Khan Pasha told IRNA that Iran and Pakistan are in talks to take full advantage of the bilateral trade.

He noted that one of the advantages of trade with Iran is that Pakistan produces many things which are in demand in Iran and many things which Iran produces are in demand in Pakistan. "Iran and Pakistan have complementary trade capacities."

The official said that recent trade negotiation committee meeting with Iran has provided opportunity to both countries to discuss trade issues.

Bilal Khan Pasha added that only 300 items are currently covered in the range of 7,000 items under the preferential trade agreement (PTA).

"To achieve the figure of $5 billion, we immediately need to increase that list. We need to focus more on the things which are in demand and Pakistan can export like agriculture items, textiles, rice and many other things to Iran and can import petroleum products, cement and other chemicals," added the Pakistani official.

He said that non-tariff barriers, absence of direct shipping line between Karachi and Bandar Abbas ports are among the impediments of trade between the two countries.

"We share a border of more than 900 kilometers, but we only have five border posts for trade and out of those five posts only one from Pakistani side is operational at Taftan but from Iranian side all five post are operational," he said.

He said the fundamental issue in bilateral trade is still the lack of banking channel.

"Though we have signed a banking agreement but still we have not seen any activity in the regards. Right now we are trading via third countries and this adds to the cost of doing business," said the official.

Iran and Pakistan are holding the second round of negotiations between Iran and Pakistan on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Islamabad.

Last year trade between Iran and Pakistan increased to more than $1 billion showing a growing trend after the JCPOA.

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