Pakistan-Iran bilateral trade can boost by exploring ample opportunities and removing stumbling blocks, said Iranian envoy Syed Mohammad Ali Hosseini while interacting with the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) along with Qadyanlo, commercial attaché and Beheshti Secretary.
He added that Iran and Pakistan have great scope and capacity to enhance mutual trade relations and should consider setting up digital markets to boost bilateral trade up to the potential of both countries. He commented that some stumbling blocks such as lack of connectivity and political will among the national governments to cooperate with private sectors to enhance Pakistan-Iran bilateral trade attribute to low trade volume between countries who share a border and have so many untapped opportunities.
Giving Pakistan-Iran bilateral trade boost through digital markets
Hosseini said that Iran-Pakistan bilateral trade was around $1.5 billion before Covid-19, which has now come down to less than $1 billion.
He said that external factors contributing to low Pakistan-Iran bilateral trade such foreign sanctions on Iran are undeniable. However, both countries share a border and possibilities of reaping alternative opportunities to boost trade are present. He proposed that the establishment of Pak-Iran digital markets and joint border markets could be the better options to improve two-way trade volume.
Hosseini 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.
Lack of connectivity account for low Pakistan-Iran bilateral trade, envoy
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.
Better connectivity between Iran-Pakistan private sectors, develop tourism
Speaking at the occasion, ICCI President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan 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 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.