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Pakistan, Iran eye trade at $5 billion

Pakistan, Iran eye trade at $5 billion

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran have agreed on a five-year trade facilitation plan to enhance bilateral trade to $5 billion.

The understanding was reached during the seventh Pakistan-Iran Joint Trade Committee meeting held in Tehran on Wednesday. Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan headed the Pakistani delegation while the Iranian side was led by the Minister for Industry, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh.

An official statement issued here by the commerce ministry stated that Khurram expressed concern over arbitrary and unilateral import bans, high textile tariffs and import authorisation system.

He called for early elimination of all non-tariff barriers under the 2006 Preferential Trade Agreement.

During the meeting, the current level of trade was reviewed and a decision was taken to develop a five-year trade facilitation plan to fulfill the shared vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Rouhani to increase bilateral trade from $1b to $5bn. Both the sides also agreed to form a working group to suggest widening of the 2006 Pakistan-Iran Preferential Trade Agreement.

The two sides also reiterated the need for joint investment in agro-food processing and infrastructure, particularly in the field of establishing effective rail, air, road and sea links between the two countries, as well as opening new border trade posts at Mand-Pishin and Gabd-Reemdan.

On Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, the commerce minister said that Gwadar to Nawabshah pipeline was part of Pakistan-China Trade Corridor. Pakistan will arrange construction of the remaining portion of the pipeline from Gwadar to Iran border paving way for import of gas.

The Iranian minister assured that hurdles in the way of bilateral trade would be removed through effective measures.

Earlier, Khurram Dastagir met Iranian Minister of Economy and Finance Dr Ali Tayyab Nia.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2015

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