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Businessmen want implementation of barter trade with Iran

Iran

KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) Businessmen Panel has called for early implementation of barter trade mechanism signed between Pakistan and Iran during the 9th Joint Trade Committee meeting held in Tehran to jack up the bilateral trade to $5 billion annually, a statement said on Saturday.

Businessmen Panel chairman Mian Anjum Nisar said that Pakistan and Iran have signed an agreement early this month during the visit of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Trade Abdul Razak Dawood to Tehran and the two countries had decided to initiate barter trade within a month.

“All the relevant departments, particularly the central bank, instead of creating obstacles, should start working on [the] implementation of the barter trade through approved crossing points without any further delay, removing all bottlenecks for the smooth trade.”

The FPCCI’s former president appreciated Islamabad, as well as Tehran for taking serious initiatives to remove hurdles to bilateral trade, asking Iran to also take benefits of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. To meet the objective of barter trade mechanism both parties must finalise an international mechanism to remove the impediments in the barter trade.

The barter trade is, in fact, a right decision, which could boost Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves through escalation in exports, he added.

Mian Anjum Nisar said due to the lack of banking channels with Iran, some issues were existing in trade with Tehran. The barter trade issue with Iran has now been resolved, which is a welcome step for both the Muslim neighbouring nations.

The BMP chairman said the governments of Pakistan and Iran had decided that a barter trade mechanism will be established between the Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Zahidan Chamber of Commerce and Industry or any other counterpart chambers, identifying over 50 items for bilateral trade with rice and petroleum products at the top of the list.

The barter trade could be done via land route through legal Customs notified border crossing points without any monetary transaction under the barter trade arrangement.

According to the agreement, the Pakistani importers will pay Pakistani exporters in lieu of goods and services exported by them in rupees and the same mechanism will apply on the Iranian side. On imports and exports of goods by either side, the party will submit documentary evidence such as goods declaration to the focal persons at the Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its counterpart Zahidan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other such chambers.

BMP presidential candidate of the FPCCI elections Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that Pakistan can import liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Iran in exchange for rice under a barter arrangement endorsed by the two countries.

“We will export rice to Iran and import LPG from there, as it is purely a barter deal. Iran faces sanctions imposed by the United States, making it difficult for the global and regional countries to broaden and deepen their trade ties with the administration in Tehran.”

He also said the country’s exports had increased 30 per cent, adding that more growth could still be achieved by adopting product and geographical diversification.

Sheikh said that the efforts should also be initiated to sign a free trade agreement between Iran and Pakistan, as both countries wanted to boost bilateral trade and economic relations to strengthen regional economy.

He lauded the efforts of Razak Dawood, saying he played a vital role in increasing the trade volume between the two countries and asked the businessmen to cement trade relations for benefitting from each other’s experience and boost trade activities between the countries.

The businessmen of Pakistan wanted to further strengthen bilateral trade between the two countries by signing a free trade agreement, installation of an effective banking channel, establishment of markets at the border region, elimination of illegal trade, exchange of business delegations and organising joint trade exhibitions.

Sheikh invited the Iranian businessmen to invest in Pakistan in hydel power generation, marble, mining, match, furniture, honey, gems and other sectors, saying that the promotion of regional trade was the need of the hour.

There’s a huge potential to further boost trade between Pakistan and Iran, which currently stands at $359 million, he added.


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