Economy, Domestic Economy

Iran-Pakistan FTA to Be Finalized in 3 Months

Iran-Pakistan FTA to Be Finalized in 3 MonthsIran-Pakistan FTA to Be Finalized in 3 Months

A free trade agreement between Iran and Pakistan will be finalized within the next three months, Iran’s ambassador to Pakistan said.

“Banking interactions between the two sides will resume in the near future and high-ranking officials from the central banks of the two countries will hold talks in this regard in the next few days,” Mehdi Honardoust was also quoted as saying by ISNA.

Pakistan had earlier presented its draft of the proposed FTA to Iran during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s state visit to Pakistan back in March.

Iranian authorities approved the initial draft shared by Pakistan and returned it with their input in mid-September.

Iran-Pakistan trade peaked in 2012 when commercial exchanges exceeded $3 billion. The figure, however, entered a downtrend in the following years.

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, two-way trade plummeted to $861 million in the last Iranian year that ended on March 19, of which $635 million pertained to Iran’s exports to Pakistan, –34% lower compared to the previous year and $226 million to imports from Pakistan, down by 16%.

As soon as the international community lifted sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program earlier this year, Pakistan and Iran came up with a five-year roadmap with the objective of boosting trade to $5 billion.

IRICA data on mutual commercial exchanges are for the first four months of the current Iranian year (started March 20), during which period Iran exported 646,400 tons of goods worth $256.4 million to Pakistan, which indicates a 30% increase in value compared with last year’s corresponding period.  More than 166,700 tons of goods valued at $160.4 million were imported during the four months, indicating a 119% surge. Petrochemicals, bitumen, gas, lead, plant seeds, carpet, pistachios and tiles were among the main exports while rice, cows, fruit, sesame, chickpeas, beans and lentil constituted the main imports.