Karachi, May 10, 2012 (PPI-OT): Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s President Mian Abrar Ahmad has urged the Governments of Pakistan and Iran to introduce banking channel and make arrangements for currency swap to enhance Pak-Iran bilateral trade. Exchanging views in the reception meeting at KCCI in the honour of Mayor of Mashhad H.E. Syed Muhammad Pejman, he asserted upon the need to take measures such as economic integration and reduction in transaction costs, port-to-port activities and customs mechanism to expand the volume of bilateral trade.
He urged to activate and develop regional trading block of ECO countries, particularly between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. He proposed that the trade between Pakistan and Iran should be permitted in local currencies instead of dollars and the trade through railways and road be regularized.
He was of the view that Pakistan has been severely discriminated by West and as energy-hungry country we should not accept any dictation on Iran-Pakistan-India Gas pipeline project which is burning need for our country to overcome the energy crisis and for industrialization. The status of $ 7.5 billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) Gas Pipeline can enhance the economic relationship with Iran.
He highlighted the existing tremendous potential for Pak-Iran bilateral trade and identified possibilities of joint ventures in value-added agricultural, mining and engineering sector. To enhance bilateral economic and commercial cooperation, he voiced to establish banking channel as the business transactions between Iran and Pakistan was routed through Asian Clearing Union which was more time-consuming than a normal letter of credit (LC), while opening a LC through Iran’s sister companies in Dubai also adds to cost.
He appreciated that the Pak-Iran Trade during last half decade increased from $389 million to $1.2 billion, however, it is not aligned with the real existing trade potential. He emphasized to deepen the existing Preferential Trade Agreement to be followed by Free Trade Agreement. He said that Iran can export to Central Asian Republics China and India via Pakistan. He said that Pakistan was one of the fastest growing economies of the world, however, its pace was slowed due to energy crises.
He lamented that Pakistan lacks energy security plan and he urged the government to devise a strategy on war-footing to produce 40 per cent electricity from nuclear, remaining 40 per cent from coal and rest from other energy resources. He lamented that successive governments never paid attention to take the benefits of Pakistan’s geostrategic position as gateway to China, Iran, India, Central Asian Republic Republics and Middle East, while exploring the economic and commercial opportunities in the region.
He emphasized that Pakistan should do trade with the regional countries and with trading blocks for the swift revival of the economy. He said that the biased policies of USA and West never allowed economic independence to Pakistan as allowed to other countries in the region. He said that Pakistan was facing Non-Tariff Barriers to Export in terms of restricted market access and un-liberalize business visa regime from West.
Mayor of Mashhad H.E. Syed Muhammad Pejman, while exchanging views stated that Pak-Iran are already belated to strengthen the trade ties and should attach importance to each other and increase bilateral trade. He said that private sectors of both brother bordering countries can play vital role to develop the relationship.
He said that holding exhibitions and exchanging trade delegations were crucial. He said that people of both countries have deep love and respect for each other and relations date back to centuries based on religious, cultural and traditional norms. He identified potential opportunities in livestock, agriculture and mining. He said that Iran requires to import livestock from Pakistan which is presently imported from Brazil.
He voiced that Pakistan may import adequate electricity alone from Iran to overcome its energy crises. He said that Iran’s trade with other regional countries was higher as compared to Pakistan and they want to develop the trade with Pakistan on same higher volume. He urged that both countries should seriously consider exploiting opportunities as Iranian people want to see a prosperous and developed neighbouring Pakistan.
Consul General of Iran in Karachi Abbas Ali Abdollahi, Iranian Delegation member from City Council of Mashhad, Karachi Metropolitan Commissioner Matanat Ali Khan, Senior Vice President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, Vice President Zia Ahmed Khan and Managing Committee Members also participated in the meeting.
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Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Aiwan-e-Tijarat Road ,
Off: Shahrah-e-Liaquat ,Karachi-74000