Pakistan & Iran Can Take Bilateral Trade to $5 bn in 2023 Irfan Iqbal Sheikh
Karachi (PR): Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, welcomed Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan at the Federation House and the President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA); accompanied by chamber officials, diplomats and prominent business personalities. He maintained that the real potential for bilateral trade between Pakistan & Iran is at least $5 billion in the near-term; and, this can be materialized by the next year itself.
Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh explained that land-based & border trade accounts for 70 – 80 percent in the total trade of many geographically-contiguous and developed countries as it is cost-competitive in not only product pricing but also saves shipping costs; time-saving and creates healthy interdependencies among naturally complementary economies.
FPCCI Chief termed the formation of Pak-Iran Joint Business Council as a historic milestone and also apprised that another MoU has been signed between the counterpart chambers of two countries to constitute a high-powered dispute resolution committee to resolve trade disputes swiftly, fairly and unanimously.
Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh emphasized that since Pakistan has become part of the TIR convention, we should be able to exponentially increase our exports to ECO member countries and Central Asia through the use of land-based transport routes and make full use of transit trade through Iran – which is close to $100 billion per year.
H.E. Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, ambassador of Iran in Pakistan, expressed his satisfaction that a 27-member strong, high-profile trade delegation of Iran is in Pakistan; and, it will lead to better & improved people-to-people and business-to-business contacts. He also emphasized that tourism in general and business tourism is particular is welcome in Iran.
Mr. Gholam Hossein Shafei, President ICCIMA, said that both countries stand to benefit from enhanced bilateral trade volumes; as both countries have their own strengths in exports which have demand in other country. He specifically mentioned that Iran is an important player in global energy production and Pakistan can benefit from Iran to plug their energy deficits; and, Iranian petrochemical industries are world-class and price-competitive as well. He called upon central banks of both the countries to help establish banking channels between the two countries to facilitate trade.
Mr. Arshad Mehmood Bhatti, Executive Director of SBP for Banking Policy & Regulations Group (BPRG), expressed the willingness of central bank in facilitating trade between Iran & Pakistan in non-sanctioned products and with non-sanctioned entities. He also called upon FPCCI & ICCIMA to work out a mechanism for trading in local currencies; settlements of trade proceeds and ceiling / limit for such arrangements.
Mr. Najam Ul Hassan Jawa, Chairman of FPCCI’s Pak-Iran Business Council, said that both the countries should capitalize on their commonalities and complementarities for the greater good of their people through trade, investments and JVs.
Mr. Abdullah Farrukh, FPCCI’s convener on shipping affairs, highlighted that Pakistan & Iran should operationalize the very lucrative, natural and sustainably viable Gawadar – Chabahar & Karachi – Bandar Abbas marine routes.
Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.