Economy, Domestic Economy

Pakistani Minister to Visit for FTA Talks

Pakistani Minister to Visit for FTA TalksPakistani Minister to Visit for FTA Talks

Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan said he plans to visit Tehran on December 28-29 to discuss, among other things, a free trade agreement with Iran. “Overall, this upcoming visit will be made with the aim of expanding Iran-Pakistan trade,” he told IRNA on Thursday. “We hope the FTA will be finalized by the end of 2017,” he added. Pakistan presented a draft of its proposed FTA to Iran during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s state visit to Pakistan back in March. Iranian authorities approved the draft after adding their own considerations and returned it to Pakistani officials in mid-September. Iran-Pakistan trade peaked in 2012 when commercial exchanges exceeded $3 billion. The figure, however, followed a downtrend in the ensuing years. According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, two-way trade plummeted to $861 million in last Iranian year (ended March 19, 2016), of which $635 million pertained to Iran’s exports to Pakistan – 34% lower compared to the previous year. About $226 million were imports from Pakistan–down by 16%. As soon as the international community lifted sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program in early 2016, Pakistan and Iran came up with a five-year roadmap with the objective of boosting trade to $5 billion. On Wednesday, a new border crossing was opened in the Pakistani town of Taftan on Iran-Pakistan border.


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