ISLAMABAD, SEPT 14 (DNA) – Iran and Pakistan have great scope to enhance trade relations and Pakistan should consider setting up digital markets with Iran to boost bilateral trade up to the potential of both countries. This was stated by Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Ambassador of Iran while interacting with the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry along with Ms. Qadyanlo Commercial Attaché and Ms. Beheshti Secretary.

He said that Iran-Pakistan bilateral trade was around USD 1.5 billion before Covid-19, which has now come down to less than USD 1 billion. He said that foreign sanctions on Iran were a problem for trade promotion, therefore, establishment of Pak-Iran digital markets and joint border markets could be the better options to improve two-way trade volume.

He said that Iran and Pakistan have agreed to set up 3 border crossing points that would help increase bilateral trade. However, he said that facilitation and exemptions by the Government of Pakistan for border markets would support the Pakistani business community to further enhance trade with Iranian counterparts.

The Iranian Envoy said that lack of better connectivity between the private sectors of Iran and Pakistan was one of the factors for low trade volume and stressed the need of close cooperation between Iran-Pakistan chambers of commerce to develop strong business linkages between the private sectors of both countries.

He said that by implementing the TIR Convention, Pakistan can promote its exports through Iran to Russia and other regional countries. He also highlighted the need for exchange of trade delegations for trade promotion and assured that Iranian Embassy was ready to help in introducing more Pakistani products in Iranian market.

Speaking at the occasion, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Pak-Iran bilateral trade was much lower than the actual potential and both governments should cooperate with private sectors to take it to higher levels. He said that many Pakistani products including pharmaceuticals, textiles, fruits, pink salt, IT products & services, surgical instruments, leather products, steel & pipes, sanitary & crockery etc.

could find a good market in Iran at cost effective prices. He said that Iranian investors should explore JVs and investment in SEZs being established in Pakistan that provided long tax holidays. He said that Pakistan has reduced duties on the tourism industry and Iranian entrepreneurs should take advantage of them by developing close cooperation with Pakistan in the tourism sector.

He was of the view that organizing trade fairs on reciprocal basis, holding chambers level zoom meetings during Covid-19 and promoting exchange of students between the two countries would be helpful in strengthening trade and economic relations.

Fatma Azim Senior Vice President ICCI, Aslam Khokhar, Omais Khattak, Saeed Khan, Usman Khalid, Muhammad Shakir, Ali Akram Khan, Javed Iqbal, Sheikh Pervez, Khalid Chaudhry and others were also present in the meeting and shared useful ideas for promoting bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Iran.=DNA