PR No.239 Islamabad: March 26, 2016

Pakistan and Iran have agreed to remove non-tariff barriers in bilateral trade and enhance the current level of trade facilitation at the borders to prepare ground for a Free Trade Agreement. Minister of Commerce of Pakistan, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan and Minister of Mining, Trade and Industry of Iran Engr. M. Reza Nematzadeh held bilateral meeting and addressed the trade and investment session of the Pak-Iran Joint Business Forum.

The two ministers termed the signing of 5 Year Strategic Trade Cooperation Plan 2016-2021 as the beginning of a new era which provides a great opportunity for the people of two nations to enhance economic cooperation to new heights.

Speaking at the Forum the Mr. Dastgir said that the proposed measures to increase bilateral trade include start of negotiations on Pakistan-Iran Free Trade Agreement, holding of single country exhibitions in each other’s country, visits of delegations to/from Iran, removal of non-tariff barriers, regular holding of meetings of Joint Border Trade and Joint Trade Committees, reactivation of Joint Business Council, opening of additional international border crossing points and establishment of border markets.

Ministry of Commerce on its part is exploring various avenues to enhance bilateral trade to $5 billion in five years, in accordance with the vision of the top political leadership of the two countries.

Mr. Nematzadeh informed the audience that Iran will hold a trade and investment exhibition in Pakistan in September this year. He said that the private sector of two countries should take lead in strengthening bilateral relations in all sectors and fora.

The two sides agreed to work on issuing long-term multiple-entry visa to business persons of two countries. The two sides agreed that increase in direct air flights between two countries will boost the prospects of trade especially trade of perishable items.

In the bilateral meeting Mr. Dastgir said that trade in agriculture, engineering and mineral sectors offers tremendous scope and building partnership by giving priority to enhance Trade in Services would add real value to bilateral economic ties. He was of the view that Pakistan and Iran are ideally placed and capable enough to complement each other. The prospects of export of services are far greater in transportation, financial, communication, insurance and IT fields, he said.

The Iranian minister expressed their desire to participate in the privatization program of Pakistan and invest in entities in which Iran has expertise and efficient management systems.

Mr. Nematzadeh was of the view that majority of the issues of the traders will be resolved with the implementation of TIR Convention which Pakistan has acceded to in recent past.

Pakistan was offered facilitation in transit through Iran for trading with the Central Asian Republics and especially with Russia where the demand of food and agri-products is increasing.