trade
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News Analysis |

Iran’s envoy to Pakistan, Mr. Mehdi Honardoost has said that efforts are being made to strengthen bilateral trade relations with Pakistan. The ambassador said this in a meeting of exporters at the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Friday.

He assured the business community that markets near the border areas will soon start doing business again. The statement comes days after Iran fired mortars on the Pakistani side of the border. However, the envoy carried forward the recent goodwill gestures between the two countries.

Read more: The US-Sino Great Game: Washington embraces Indian…

Iran has supported Pakistan’s stance on the new South Asia policy and has agreed to cooperate for lasting peace in the region. Iranian President while lamenting the missed opportunities of knitting closer ties with Pakistan stressed on the need to make efforts to take the relations to the strategic level.

“We understand that both countries have agreed to set up a mechanism to ensure implementation of existing agreements, aimed at substantial increase of two-way trade,” said SCCI President Zahid Latif Malik.

Honardoost pointed out that trade volume between the two countries increased by 35 percent last year. He added that all hurdles and barriers in the improvement of bilateral ties will be removed while urging Pakistani exporters to focus on international trade markets of Iran and avail trade concessions at all Iranian Free Trade Zones.

The envoy said that the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline will usher in a new revolution in regional economics while adding that many Iranian firms are keen to undertake joint ventures with Pakistani enterprises.

“We understand that both countries have agreed to set up a mechanism to ensure implementation of existing agreements, aimed at substantial increase of two-way trade,” said SCCI President Zahid Latif Malik.

Read more: After India & Afghanistan, Iran commits act of aggression against Pakistan

More windows opening up

Faced with hard choices, Pakistan has tried to show neutrality in the intense regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran as it has the propensity to stoke sectarian tiff in the country. Pakistan decided not to partake in the Yemen War where Saudi-backed government forces are fighting against Iranian-backed Houthis. Pakistan has thus far maintained its balanced policy, albeit with a great deal of difficulty.

Healthy Pak-Iran ties can be achieved given the current geopolitical realignments and the centrality of both countries in the overall Belt and Road initiative; diplomatic engagements, however, need to be more frequent.

The multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a new vista for cooperation between regional players. Iran’s joining in the project can be a diplomatic goal that China and Pakistan can achieve. Iran’s hostilities with the US have reached a tipping point as the nuclear deal is on the cusp of its premature end. The animosity between the US and Iran is increasing by the day. US and India’s joint opposition to CPEC coupled with Tehran’s willingness to cooperate with Pakistan and China can be an ideal conduit for Tehran to join the project.

Read more: Iran is Trump’s perpetual enemy in the Middle East

There are chances aplenty that Iran and Pakistan can paper over disagreements and take forward bilateral ties. Iran is an essential nod of the Belt and Road Initiative. China has embarked on BRI-related railway modernization drive, with the provision of $1.5 billion to electrify the Tehran-Mashhad trunk line, and another $1.8 billion for a high-speed rail linking Tehran, Qom and Isfahan.

Healthy Pak-Iran ties can be achieved given the current geopolitical realignments and the centrality of both countries in the overall Belt and Road initiative; diplomatic engagements, however, need to be more frequent.

Comments & Discussion