Pakistan-Iran trade ties, volume far below potential

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ISLAMABAD Bilateral relations between Iran and Pakistan are very cordial and the two capitals enjoy very close affiliations, but at the same time the volume of trade between the two countries is well below potential.

 

The leadership of the two countries have agreed to take the bilateral trade volume upto $5 billion in coming years but still many steps need to be taken to achieve the objective.

 

After the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1, experts believe that the trade between Iran and Pakistan would get a boost and both countries can benefit from each other in all sectors especially in trade and economic sector.

 

Though trade between Iran and Pakistan crossed $1 billion mark after the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the figure is below the full potential of the trade between the two neighboring states.

 

Business between the private sectors of Pakistan and Iran is not very active and a lot of time and lots of opportunities have been lost, IRNA reported Sunday.

 

The 20th Iran-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission meeting was held in Teheran in April this year with an objective to implement the decisions that have been taken between the two countries to enhance the trade.

 

This year central banks of the two countries have also signed an agreement to open a proper banking channel but this agreement is yet to materialize.

 

Iran is a big market and Pakistani goods have a good reputation and value in Iranian market. There is a big demand of Pakistani basmati rice, he said.

 

Iranian products which are very good in quality are not very easily available in Pakistani markets.

 

In big cities one can find Chinese and other countries’ products easily but not Iranian products. The only major Iranian export which is available in Pakistani stores is ‘date’.

 

Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline is another key project that could completely change the face of Pakistan’s economy and boost economic ties between the two neighbors.

 

The cost production would come down if Iranian gas comes here, more jobs will be created. Iran has already completed its portion of the project but Pakistan has yet to start construction of the pipeline on its territory.

 

Meanwhile Pakistan’s Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCE) has approved purchase of additional 100 MW electricity from Iran. Pakistan is right now importing 100 MW electricity from while Iran has already announced its readiness to increase electricity exports to Pakistan respectively to 1000 and 3000 MW.

 

Developments after the JCPOA suggest that the Iranian economy will grow at a rapid pace in coming years and its neighbors could easily reap fruits of this expansion.

 

Pakistani businessman and member of Sialkot Chamber Of Commerce and Industry Khawar Anwar Khawaja believes the lack of banking channel is one of the major obstacles in boosting the bilateral trade.

 

Speaking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), he stressed the need for removal of trade barriers between Iran and Pakistan asking both sides to fully implement Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and also sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for stronger trade ties.

 

However, he said that future of trade ties between Iran and Pakistan is very bright as both are neighboring countries which can benefit from each other in trade sector.

 

He said that Sialkot Chamber Of Commerce and Industry is one of the major trade bodies of the country and is willing to enhance trade with Iran. “We are ready for all kinds of cooperation with Iran,” he said. NNI

 

 

Originally published by NNI

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