Karachi, May 02, 2016 (PPI-OT): Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran Mehdi Honardoost has said that terrorism, which is based on poverty and illiteracy, is a common concern for Pakistan and Iran so both countries must work collectively and try to be more close to each other in order to deal with these issues.
Exchanging views with KCCI Office bearers and Managing Committee members during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Iranian Ambassador said, “Without cooperation impediments cannot be removed.”
President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, Senior Vice President KCCI Zia Ahmed Khan, Vice President KCCI Muhammad Naeem Sharif, Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present on the occasion.
Commenting on trade ties between the two countries, the Iranian Ambassador said that business between the private sectors of the two countries was not active and a lot of time and a lot of opportunities were lost.
“As a result, the bilateral trade and banking transactions between Pakistan and Iran are the lowest which you will not find even in our neighbouring countries”, he said, adding that lack of trade-related information was one of the key reasons of low trade volume between the brotherly countries.
He said that Iran and Pakistan have common concerns and common interests. Both are tied into the bonds of brotherhood and friendly ties but the volume of trade was not proportionate to level of friendship.
Honardoost said that Iranian businessmen were keen to enhance business with their Pakistani counterparts therefore they should come forward and start joint ventures with their Iranian counterparts. “We have no reservations, no limitations, no concerns and we are looking forward to have 100 percent full-fledged cooperation with Pakistan in terms of trade. Iran offers many opportunities for Pakistani businesses.”
The Ambassador assured that Iranian Embassy in Islamabad and its Consulate in Karachi were fully ready to extend cooperation to those businessmen and industrialists who are interested in enhancing trade with Iran by facilitating their contacts and interaction with Iranian counterparts. “It is our responsibility to fully facilitate you and ensure contacts with the concerned Iranian businessman while the rest is up to you”, he added.
He said, “All our doors are open and we don’t have any impediments. Iran wants to work closely with Pakistan and is always ready to offer all its capabilities not only for mega projects but also for smaller projects and the SMEs in Pakistan.
Terming the projects of electricity import from Iran and Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline as key and mega projects, Mehdi Honardoost said that Iran was ready to fulfil the growing energy needs of Pakistan. He said that IP Gas Pipeline was in the interest of both countries and Pakistan will get adequate gas at cheaper rates which would result in enhancing the capacity of industrial production.
Referring to the recent visit of Iranian President to Pakistan, he said that the visit of Iranian President yielded very good and positive results. Although the two countries have been enjoying cordial, brotherly and friendly relations but all this should now be translated into strong trade ties as well.
Earlier, President KCCI Younus Muhammad, while welcoming the Iranian Ambassador, said that the economic relations between Pakistan and Iran have improved significantly giving way to further enhancement of bilateral trade.
He noted that the bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and Iran were healthy and based on trade of several commodities. During Fiscal Year 2015, Pakistan exported goods worth $31.45 million whereas the imports stood at $0.27 million. “The trade balance is favourable for Pakistan with trade surplus of $31.18 million in FY15 but the overall trade volume is very low which requires special attention”, he added.
Highlighting the potential for enhancing Pak-Iran bilateral trade relations, he said that opportunities were available in Iranian dairy, livestock, meat, and beverages sectors for Pakistani traders and investors. Pakistan can also take benefit of Iran’s petrochemical sector.
Younus Bashir was of the opinion that development of joint trade committee can also play its role in expanding bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran. Moreover, infrastructural constraints should be sorted out to enhance bilateral trade via Quetta-Taftan land route whereas Pak-Iran currency swap agreement was another important option for enhancing bilateral trade.
“Regular operation of “ECO container train” would lend impetus to cargo and transit facilities between the two countries while commencement of special direct flights from Quetta and Gilgit to Mashhad were also a potential avenue for enhancing trade”, he added.
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