(Karachi P.R. 6th Oct, 2016) Shaikh Khalid Tawab, Sr. Vice President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) urged the need of FTA between Pakistan and Iran. The signing and implementation of FTA will boost the bilateral trade and further help in reducing the smuggling which has damaged to legitimate trade of both the countries. He added that currently Pakistan and Iran enjoys PTA; wherein the concessions on 18 percent of items are given but this PTA was not fully materialized due to international sanctions on Iran and Pakistan lost its market of mangoes, rice, citrus fruit and other agriculture items.
He stated that Iran plays a leading role in international organizations where Pakistan is also an active member like OIC, D-8, ECO, G-24 and G-77. He further stated that the stronger trade and business ties with Iran will not only help Pakistan’s economic situation, but will also lead to greater stability and economic prosperity in the region. Moreover, both countries should promote trade through land borders by opening new trade routes like Gabd-Reemdan and Mand-Pashin; which will help in improving the economy of Baluchistan. Internationally, it has been proved that opening of new trade border among the neighboring countries will boost bilateral trade which can be seen in case of India that open its borders with Bangladesh and Nepal.
While quoting the statistics, he indicated that the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran\'s stood at US$293.18 million; wherein the volume of Pakistan’s export to Iran is US$ 32.29 million and import from Iran is US$ 260.89 million. Pakistan’s major exports to Iran include paper and paperboard, cereals, textiles, plastic goods, vegetable and fruit. The major commodities Pakistan imports from Iran include electrical machinery, minerals, oil, organic chemicals, iron, and steel, he added.
He welcomed the development of Chahbahar port as it would serve as a sister port for enhancing connectivity in the region. He further stated that for improving the trade relation, the opening of banking channels between two nations and holdings of exhibitions and trade fairs for business to business contacts is need of the hour.
He further elaborated that Iran is the first nation that recognized Pakistan globally as a sovereign country in 1947, since then Iran had unique and good relations with Pakistan. While talking about the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, he underscored the need of early completion of gas pipeline from Pakistan as Iran has already built the pipeline up to the Pakistan-Iran border. Moreover, Pakistan should link this project with CPEC to transport Iranian gas to China through Pakistan for making Pakistan a regional hub of trade and energy corridor.
(MAHER ALAM KHAN)
Acting Secretary General