Iranian envoy calls for enhancing bilateral trade with Pakistan
KARACHI: Hassan Nourian, consul general of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Karachi, has emphasised the need to enhance bilateral trade with Pakistan.
“The formal trade between the two countries is just $1 billion, which is very low; given the fact that the combined population of Pakistan and Iran is 300 million,” he said, at a meeting with the members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Tuesday.
There might be informal trade along the lines; but, the two countries must work in tandem to progressively increase the bilateral trade on a sustainable basis, he added.
The quality of Iranian products is world-class and Iranian industry buys their plants mostly from the best manufacturers, he said, and appreciated the willingness of the Pakistani Embassy in Iran to support enhancement of bilateral trade.
Nourian said that there is still a huge untapped potential for Pakistani fruits in Iran; particularly, various varieties of mango. He also emphasised the petrochemical industry is very advanced in Iran technologically and can greatly help Pakistan with their foreign exchange strains.
Earlier, Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, president of the FPCCI, extended his heartiest welcome to Nourian and Mahdi Amir Jafari, third consul for economic affairs, at the Federation House, Karachi.
Maggo said that the FPCCI is very keen to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries and for that matter removal of the bottlenecks is warranted. The lack of banking and financial channels; absence of barter-trade agreements or mechanisms at governmental level and unfair geopolitical pressures are the major bottlenecks, he added.
The FPCCI chief explained that the central/state banks of the two countries and apex chambers of commerce and industry need to come closer; and, “we can immediately start the consultative processes immediately at various levels through webinars”.
He also offered the FPCCI’s assistance and its platform for making efficient and tangible linkages.
Primarily, the two central banks need to devise a mechanism for smooth and swift payment systems for the bilateral trade as the starting point in the right direction; as that will give confidence to traders on both sides.
He also requested the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI) to extend their funding guarantees to more traders with enhanced limits and play a role of a catalyst.
Maggo also expressed concern over the Covid situation in the brotherly country of Iran and hoped that the Iranian people will soon overcome the menace on the back of their ever-persistent resilience and high hygiene standards.
Hanif Lakhany, vice president of the FPCCI, said that the tariffs are playing out as a major hindrance; as these are very high on both sides; and, that results in rendering bilateral trade uncompetitive.
Nasir Khan, vice president of the FPCCI, said that during a recent meeting with SBP Governor Reza Baqir, the FPCCI raised the issue of lack of banking channels with Iran and the central bank has asked to discuss the matter further in the light of the existing bilateral mechanisms between Iran and other countries, such as China, India, Turkey, etc.
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