ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran have agreed to take steps to increase annual trade to 5 5 billion by 2023..
According to the Dawn newspaper, an official statement from the Ministry of Commerce said that “the understanding on the new trade target was reached during the ninth meeting of the Iran-Pakistan Joint Trade Committee held in Tehran.” Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade, Reza Fatemi Amin, said the two countries were committed to increasing annual trade exchanges. Stressing on the need for a proper program to provide investment opportunities to Pakistani partners in Iran, the Minister said that the obstacles would be removed within three months to pave the way for expansion of free trade. Raza Amin said Pakistani and Iranian officials had already discussed economic co-operation and the Joint Trade Committee had been tasked with paving the way for boosting trade ties between the two countries.
Referring to the commitment to expand bilateral economic ties, he said that Iran was ready to remove obstacles to trade with Pakistan in order to enhance economic ties with the neighboring country. The Joint Committee is working on issues such as the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, as well as the organization of exhibitions. The meeting was attended by senior Iranian and Pakistani officials as well as business and banking officials. Giving similar comments, Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Trade, said that Pakistan also wants to increase bilateral trade with Iran. He offered to increase trade in the transport sector, increase barter trade, build joint border markets as well as reduce tariffs. He reminded that the two countries have already planned and agreed on strategic cooperation and they are yet to be implemented. “I hope the necessary steps will be taken today,” he said.
Tehran and Islamabad plan to co-operate in the fields of local appliances and dairy, Iran’s state news agency IRNA quoted the Iranian industry minister as saying. The Iranian Minister said that despite being two important countries in the region, Iran and Pakistan have not been able to utilize their economic potential so far. He said that obstacles to free trade between Tehran and Islamabad would be removed within the next three months. It should be noted that trade between Pakistan and Iran is very limited and 63% of Pakistan’s exports consist of rice only. A Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) was signed with Iran in 2006 in which Iran was given concessions on 309 tariff lines while Pakistan was given concessions on 338 tariff lines.
In 2017, both sides also decided to finalize the proposed FTA by November. The two countries’ trade negotiating committee held two rounds of talks on the FTA, which estimated that the agreement would increase bilateral trade from 30 300 million in 2016 to 5 5 billion by 2021. ۔