Domestic Economy

Pak Team Explores New Trade Areas

Pak Team Explores New Trade AreasPak Team Explores New Trade Areas

Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayebnia in a meeting with Pakistan's Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, held in Tehran on Tuesday, underlined the potential for increasing mutual trade to $5 billion from the current $1 billion.

Pointing to the success of Iran-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission in expanding bilateral trade ties, Tayebnia expressed hope that effective steps will soon be taken to implement the agreements reached by the commission, IRNA reported.

He underscored the role of border trade in boosting mutual commerce, adding that Iran has "no limitations" when it comes to expanding economic relations with the neighboring country.

The Iranian minister also expressed Tehran's preparedness to invest in areas of technical and engineering services and other business activities in Pakistan.

The Pakistani commerce minister, for his part, suggested that the two counties' finance ministries draft the mechanisms and strategies for facilitating mutual trade.

"When we speak of economic cooperation with Iran, we do not merely mean the import and export of goods, but also investments in road and air transport, and even telecommunications could be included in a broader framework of bilateral relations," Khan said.

He also called for the completion of the 700-kilometer gas pipeline from Gwadar in Pakistan for transfer of natural gas from Iran.  

The 19th session of the Iran-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission was held in December last year, which was attended by Tayebnia and Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The two countries signed five Memorandums of Understanding during the 2-day meeting.

> Adding New Items to PTA

Meanwhile, Iran's deputy minister of industry, mine and trade, Valiollah Afkhamirad on Tuesday called for increasing trade with Pakistan and adding more items to the list of commodities included in the  preferential trade agreement (PTA) between the two countries.

The official made the remarks in the preliminary meeting of the 7th session of Iran-Pakistan joint Economic Committee, held with the aim of seeking new avenues for economic cooperation and expansion of trade.

As part of the meeting, Pakistan's additional secretary of commerce Robina Athar referred to the inclusion of more items of trade in the reduced tariff list as "an issue desired by both countries."

Iran and Pakistan signed a PTA back in March 2004, which became operational as of September 2006. Under the agreement, Pakistan offered concessions to Iran on 338 tariff lines, whereas Iran gave concessions on 309 tariff lines.

Afkhamirad also said on Monday that Iran is working with Turkey to expand the recently signed PTA with Ankara to include more items in the list of commodities traded at preferential tariff rates.

Besides Turkey and Pakistan, Iran has PTAs with Tunisia, Bosnia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba.

Trade between Pakistan and Iran currently comprises mainly oil and gas from Iran and rice from Pakistan. Islamabad wishes to enhance the trade to include meat, fruits, textile, surgical items, sports goods, gems and jewelry.

Afkhamirad stressed the role of specialized trade exhibitions for introducing the two countries' capacities, adding that Iranian trade delegations would be sent to Pakistan to identify the capacities for expansion of mutual trade.

The parties agreed on holding the third Iran-Pakistan Joint Border Commission meeting in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan.