Economy, Domestic Economy

Trade Target With Pakistan Set at $5b by 2021

Trade Target With Pakistan Set at $5b by 2021Trade Target With Pakistan Set at $5b by 2021

Pakistan and Iran aim to increase annual trade volumes between the two countries to $5 billion by 2021, according to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif made the statement at a business conference on March 26 with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who arrived in Islamabad a day earlier for two-day talks focused on increasing Pakistan’s electricity imports from Iran, boosting trade relations and reviving plans for a gas pipeline between the two countries, Reuters reported.

“In the five-year strategic action plan signed yesterday, we have aimed at boosting our bilateral trade to the level of $5 billion by 2021,” Sharif said.

“More land routes for trade on our border, trade exhibitions, industrial and agricultural cooperation and mutual recognition of standards will boost trade.”

Trade between Pakistan and Iran fell to $432 million in 2010-11 from $1.32 billion in 2008-09, according to the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, after western powers imposed sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear energy program.

Most of the sanctions were lifted in January after the UN nuclear agency confirmed Iran’s compliance with a deal to limit the scope of its nuclear activities.

“Iran has the capability to help the development of the economic infrastructure of Pakistan, including roads, railroads, dams and other area,” Rouhani said in his speech at the Pakistan-Iran Business Forum.

Iran currently exports around 100 megawatts of electricity to the areas of Pakistan that border Iran. Pakistan is in the final stages of negotiating a deal that will increase that to 1,000 MW, the ministry of water and power has said previously.

Energy-starved Pakistan suffers about 12 hours of power cuts per day and is keen to import Iranian oil, gas, iron and steel.

Iran is interested in Pakistani textiles, surgical goods, sports goods and agricultural products.

Pakistan also plans to set up industrial sites in the impoverished border area, especially petrochemical storage, and link the infrastructure to a $46 billion project with China, dubbed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.