Iran, Pakistan to Open 3rd Border Crossing for Boosting Trade

Iran, Pakistan to Open 3rd Border Crossing for Boosting Trade
Iran, Pakistan to Open 3rd Border Crossing for Boosting Trade

Pishin border crossing between Iran and Pakistan will be officially opened in two months, said Pakistan’s Minister for Defense Production Zubaida Jalal Khan recently. 
“Pakistan’s government is looking for improving cross-border trade and resolving problems that affect the lives of people living in both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border,” she was quoted as saying by IRNA. 
Pishin is a city in Sarbaz County located in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province near the Pakistani border, across which is the town of Mand. 
The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration has set up a customs office there to regulate border trade between Iran and Pakistan. 
On Saturday, Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami and Minister for Defense Production of Pakistan Zubaida Jalal Khan opened Rimdan-Gabd border crossing, the second official border crossing between the two countries. 
Previously, there was only one official crossing between the two countries at Mirjaveh-Taftan.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Jalal Khan said the establishment of border crossing point will boost bilateral trade and economic activities between the two countries.
She said the opening of the crossing point would facilitate people of the adjoining areas of the two countries to travel and trade.
According to IRNA, the opening of the Rimdan-Gabd crossing would boost the legal exchange of goods and transportation of passengers.  
Rimdan in Dashtiari District is located 120 km from Chabahar in southeast Iran and 70 km from Pakistan’s Gwadar. It is the best access point for Iran to reach 37% of the world’s population living in Pakistan, China and India. 
The opening of the crossing would accelerate economic activities in the border region by creating more opportunities for expanding bilateral economic and trade ties, according to Business Recorder.
According to Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran Rahim Hayat Qureshi, Gabd-Rimdan border crossing is halfway between Gwadar and Chabahar. Its opening is aimed at uplifting people of the area by facilitating trade and people-to-people contacts, making the Iran-Pakistan border one of peace and friendship.
“More border openings and trading points also under active consideration,” he added.
The opening of Rimdan border is one of the most important results of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's visit to Pakistan last month. 
In June last year, Special Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Balochistan, Pakistan, to discuss issues facing trade between the two countries, including trade activities at the land border, with Pakistani parties and Balochistan trade and business stakeholders. 
Most of the trade between Iran and Pakistan is done through the land route leading to the Mirjaveh border crossing (Taftan), between the residents of Sistan-Baluuchestan Province in Iran and the province of Balochistan in Pakistan.



Barter Trade

Iran is ready to export petrochemical, steel and liquefied petroleum products to Pakistan in return for rice, meat and other agricultural products in a barter trade arrangement, says Iranian Consul General Reza Nazeri.
“Iran is willing to start barter trade with Pakistan with energy and agriculture sectors having the potential to increase exports and imports,” Nazeri said during a September meeting with Pakistani businessmen. 
The Iranian government is ready to help Pakistan’s private sector to promote bilateral trade and investment, he added.
Nazeri lamented the insignificant bilateral trade with Pakistan despite their immense potentials, reiterating its resolve to facilitate the private sector for barter trade.
“The volume of two-way trade between Pakistan and Iran is negligible. The mutual trade of two countries does not match their respective potentials,” he said.
“Pakistan and Iran have the potential to cater to each other’s needs, provided businessmen have the exposure to the available opportunities. The business community in the two countries would have to increase interaction to share their experiences in the larger interests of the people of the two brotherly nations.”
The Iranian envoy said the chambers of commerce in the two countries would have to focus on expansion of trade by holding single-country exhibitions and through trade delegations to each other’s country. “Dissemination of sector-specific and trade-related information would go a long way in achieving the goal,” he added.
The Iranian consul general said agriculture, tourism and metal industries of Iran have opportunities for investment and Pakistani business community should come forward.
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Anjum Nisar said the low volume of trade is mainly due to ignorance about each other’s potential and non-utilization of territorial connectivity.
“Tariff and non-tariff barriers are major obstacles in the way of trade enhancement. All the four traditional transportation modes are available for bilateral trade between and Pakistan and Iran, including air, sea, road and rail but unfortunately none of these modes of transportation is efficiently and economically utilized at present,” he said.
Nisar said transport licenses should be issued to allow vehicles move freely across the border.
“Through this step, the exporters of both countries would be able to get direct access to consumers. The other step is to provide proper and complete information about the products, which can be transacted by organizing single country exhibitions,” he said.
Various decisions regarding expansion of trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Iran were taken previously. Unfortunately, due to the unstable international and regional conditions, nothing has materialized.
Nisar said Iran and Pakistan are members of emerging regional trade blocks. 
“The geographical locations of both countries affect their neighboring countries. Both countries should seek various avenues of cooperation for marketing their products. We should study and review our bilateral preferential trade agreement and incorporate various avenues of investment that have emerged due to changing regional dynamics,” he said.
The Pakistani government has decided to establish 18 markets along its borders with Iran and Afghanistan for boosting trade and curbing the menace of smuggling.
The decision was taken at a recent meeting chaired by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. He also agreed to a plan for setting up three border markets as a pilot project — two in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These markets will become operational by February next year, The Dawn reported.

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