Lahore, April 22, 2016 (PPI-OT): The Iranian Ambassador in Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost has expressed optimism and confidence that Pak-Iran trade would touch new heights commensurate with their respective potential.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Iranian Consul General Muhammad Hossain Bani Assadi, LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder, Vice President Nasir Saeed, former presidents Ijaz Butt, Syed Mohsin Raza Bukhari, Sohail Lashari, former Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir, Executive Committee Members Mian Abdul Razzaq, Shahzad Ahmed, Tariq Mahmood, former EC members Khawaja Khawar Rasheed and Rehmatullah Javed were also present on the occasion.
The Ambassador said that Iran and Pakistan have some most important achievements from the recent visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Pakistan which has also started a new era of cordial relations between the two countries. Iran and Pakistan are brother countries and their friendship should be translated into the mutual economic ties as well.
Iranian envoy said “I was shocked to see the statistics of mutual trade volume which do not reflects the friendly relations and potential of the two countries. He said that lack of trade-related information is one of the biggest reasons of low trade volume. Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the both countries should play role in this regard. He said that Iran is not only a big market but also have 15 neighbouring countries. He said that Iranian businessmen are keen to enhance business with their Pakistani counterparts therefore they should come forward and start joint ventures with their Iranian counterparts.
He said that Iran is ready to fulfil the growing energy needs of Pakistan. To a question, Iranian Ambassador said that Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline project could be completed in short span of time. He said that this project must be completed as energy is necessary for all trade and economic activities.
He said that doors are open and Iranian Embassy in Pakistan would extend all possible facilities to Pakistani businessmen interested in to do business with Iran.
The LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder said that soon after lifting of sanction, a high-powered trade delegation of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry visited Iran and find there is a vast scope of cooperation in textile, fruit, vegetables and meat sectors of Iran. He said that two delegations would also visit Iran in May to explore the trade and investment opportunities.
He said that Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between the two countries should not be traditional, these should be handled through Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the two countries.
Almas Hyder said that Iran has an urgent requirement of our textile products including T-Shirts, Denim Jeans and Home Textiles. Demand for meat was equally high. We must build capacity of our meat processing facilities to cater their requirements.
He said that the Iranian power companies can provide 5000 megawatt electricity to Pakistan. It costs approximately US$ 1.5 billion to connect electricity and develop infrastructure, which would eliminate load shedding from Pakistan. The two governments need to negotiate this deal.
The LCCI Senior Vice President said that There is an urgent need of more flights between Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Tehran, Shiraz, Mashhad and Isfahan. We need to assist airlines of both the countries to build the air connection and increase their frequency to enable businessmen to travel. Regular air links will help increase trade in fruits, vegetables and meat products.
“Road and Rail Links are also needed to be improved. Direct shipping between Iran and Pakistan is also needed urgently. Banking Channels between Pakistan and Iran should be started immediately to overcome the smuggling issues faced by both the countries and to have a prosperous two way trade. 3 banks i.e. The Bank of Punjab, Alfalah Bank and Meezan Bank are actively pursuing correspondent relationship”, he added.
He said that Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between two countries was signed several years ago. It needs to be activated. Special Economic Zones on Pakistan-Iran borders may be set up to increase formal trade. He said that long term multiple entry visas should be issued to businessmen of both the countries for the promotion of bilateral trade.
He said that President, Islamic Republic of Iran announced that they wanted to enhance their trade with Pakistan upto US$ 5 billion. The Iranian businessmen are gearing upto reach this target. In this regard, necessary steps should be taken by Pakistani side also.
The LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed said that high level delegation from government and trade bodies of Pakistan should be sent to Iran regularly. Pakistani companies should display their products in Iran Exhibition. He said that all the three Chambers agreed to help us to do a Single Country Exhibition in Tehran, and if possible for us, in other cities also.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan