By Mahnaz Abdi

Expansion of trade ties with Pakistan a priority

November 20, 2020 - 17:22

TEHRAN- Pakistan has a relatively large consumer market with a population of over 200 million.

According to the World Trade Organization, imports constitute over 66 percent of Pakistan’s trade.

Expansion of trade with Pakistan, and boosting exports to this neighbor is one of Iran's priorities.

In a recent visit to Pakistan, Head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Hamid Zadboum met with Pakistan’s deputy economic affairs minister to discuss the expansion of trade ties with the neighboring country.

In the meeting, the officials reviewed important axes of trade, investment, and transportation between the two countries, and decided that the next meeting of the Joint Economic Committee of the two countries will be held in Tehran next month.

To be hosted by the Industry, Mining and Trade Ministry, the fifth meeting of the two countries’ Free Trade Committee was also decided to be held on the sidelines of the joint economic committee meeting.

Further in the meeting, representatives of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and Urban Development, and the Energy Ministry held talks with their Pakistani counterparts to discuss a variety of issues including electricity exports, and maritime, road, and rail transportation cooperation.

The TPO head had visited Pakistan along with a high-ranking delegation headed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Iran's exports to Pakistan in the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 19) was $1.18 billion, but in the meantime, financial and banking problems have still created obstacles in the way of trade relations with this country.

And although due to the banking and financial problems, barter trade with Pakistan is still emphasized by Iran; experts and those active in the economic fields believe that Iran should seriously pursue the idea of a bilateral joint bank with Pakistan, while taking trade facilitation measures in line with signing agreements.

Last month, in a meeting with the Pakistani ambassador to Tehran, the head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization stressed his country’s desire to have a free trade agreement with Pakistan.

Referring to the existence of a preferential trade agreement between the two sides, Hamid Zadboum stressed Iran's willingness for a free trade agreement with this country.

Emphasizing the need for Iranian and Pakistani officials to pay serious attention to removing obstacles to expanding trade relations between the two countries, the official said: "According to the studies, Pakistan has the highest potential among Iran's 15 neighbors and is the first country with which Iran is willing to develop trade."

Expansion of border trade between the two countries is another issue that Iran is seriously pursued.

The value of Iran’s exports to Pakistan through the border in the southeast of the country has risen 26 percent during the first quarter of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20-June 20), compared to the same period of time in the previous year.

More activities of Iran-Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce especially in the border areas is the other important approach to be adopted in line with the expansion of bilateral ties.

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