Roadmap with time-line needed to promote Pak-Iran trade: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Thursday emphasized that prospects to exploit trade opportunities between Pakistan and Iran need to be looked into with a positive approach commensurating with our close brotherly relations. A roadmap with time-lines to promote trade between the two countries could greatly help in this regard, he added. The Prime Minister was talking to Iranian Minister for Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari who called on him here at the PM House on Thursday.The Prime Minister appreciated the increase in the trade between Pakistan and Iran due to bilateral tariff concessions on more than 600 items under Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) signed in 2004.The trade relations between the two countries, he observed, do not match with the opportunities available.The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of deepening and broadening of trade and economic cooperation in the mutual interest of the two countries by increasing product coverage and lowering of tariff.

He said that for expanding the trade volume between the two countries measures like economic integration, reduction in transaction cost and creation of a business friendly environment were equally essential.The Iranian Minister of Commerce considered his meeting with the Pakistani officials, as fruitful.He, however, mentioned that impediments to benefit from FTA need to be removed to further enhance trade relations. Business transactions between the two countries through Asian Clearing Union (ACU) take more time as compared to normal L/Cs, he added.Opening of L/Cs through Iran’s sister companies in Dubai also adds to total cost, he said and stressed upon the opening of branches of Banks in each others countries.The Iranian Minister of Commerce mentioned that at present Iran has trade with the world to the tune of US $ 150 billion mainly with the western countries including USA and EU. The trade with UAE has reached US $ 15 billion while with India it has increased to US $ 12 billion, he added.He said the increase in trade between Iran and Pakistan will bring both countries further closer. He emphasized upon improvement in communication and transportation sectors of both the countries.Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Secretary Commerce Zafar Mehmood were also present on the occasion – AAP