Pak, Iran can meet each other’s needs: Assadi

April 28, 2011 - 0:0

The Iranian Consul General to Islamabad, Mohammad- Hossein Bani-Assadi, has said that Pakistan and Iran has the potential to cater to each other’s needs provided the business community in the two countries has exposure to the available opportunities.

The Iranian Consul General was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. LCCI President Shahzad Ali Malik, former LCCI President Mohsin Raza Bukhari, EC Members Dr Shahid Raza, Mian Zahid Javaid, Sheikh Mohammad Ayub and Tanvir Ahmad Sufi also spoke on the occasion and threw light on as to how the bilateral relations between the two countries could further be improved.
The Iranian Consul General said that 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 who have many commonalities. He said that the volume of mutual trade between Pakistan and Iran does not match the level of their brotherly relations. He said that both the countries and their respective trade bodies would have to focus on expansion of trade by holding single country exhibitions or through trade delegations to each other’s country.
He said that it was the duty of the chambers of commerce both in Iran and Pakistan to ensure dissemination of sector-specific and trade-related information. He said that both the countries should also share their experiences in the filed of science and technology also.
He said that Agriculture, Tourism sector and Metal industry of Iran have a lot of opportunities of investment therefore Pakistani business community should avail this opportunity.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Shahzad Ali Malik said that Pakistan and Iran are two brotherly Islamic countries. Therefore, maximum efforts are needed to strengthen their relations in all fields, he added.
He said both the sides need to conduct market research to further strengthen trade relations between the two countries. Priority should be given to each other for import of goods rather than buying from distant countries.
There is a lot of scope for collaboration in SMEs and mega projects like onshore and offshore oil & gas exploration activities, hydro and coal based energy projects, paper & board, sugar, cement, chemicals, transport & communication, construction of roads in Pakistan, scientific & educational cooperation, handicrafts, artificial jewelry, carpets, fancy furniture etc.
Shahzad Ali Malik said Pakistan is basically an agricultural country bestowed with variety of seasons and agro-based products. But due to lack of post harvest technology a lot of agriculture produce is wasted. Hence, cooperation in technology from Iran can help Pakistan’s agro-based food processing and dairy industry to improve.
Pakistan is one of the leading countries and known around the globe for its textile potential and products, which still needs to be properly introduced in Iranian business houses. Such efforts can also prove vital to equalize our trade balance.
Moreover, Cereals were the largest export item to Iran, which accounts for 44.89 percent of total exports. Articles of leather, animal gut, harness, travel goods, cotton and man-made staple fibers have the share between 9% and 12%.
He said Pakistan has always experienced an adverse balance of trade with Iran, which suggests that Iran needs to import more from Pakistan to create a win - win situation for both the countries.
He said there is a lot of potential to take it to over US$ 2 billion mark if the smuggling could also be curtailed.
Though traditionally, the balance of trade favours Iran but currently, this gap is also increasing showing abrupt increase in the last couple of years. For instance, it was US$ -311.5 million in 2008 but it became US$ -703.7 million in 2009. We would like to have some greater share in bilateral trade which may guarantee some economic benefits to Pakistan as well.
(Source: Pakistan Observer)