Pakistan is losing substantial revenues on the export of fruits and vegetables to Iran as almost $40 million worth of fruits are being smuggled to the neighbouring country.
The illegal trade, in violation of the protocol signed by Pakistan and Iran, has also drastically reduced the legal trade of fruits with Tehran. Particularly Iran’s only share in the total export of Pakistani kinnow stands at around massive 33%, said Harvest Trading CEO Ahmad Jawad while talking to PPI here on Friday.
He further said that every year Pakistani exporters wait for duty waiver of kinnow for exporting quality product through sea route but due to unchecked trade via land routes with Tehran, Kinnow exports have declined from 2,000 containers to only 200 containers during the last few years as illegal trade has increased manifold.
Transportation of fresh commodities is often made to Iran in open trucks and does not meet the phytosanitary requirements which lead Iran to reject those goods.
Jawad said rather than resolve the issues, the country is losing an already established market in Iran due to sanctions imposed by the US as commercial banks are reluctant to get involved in the financial transactions. He informed that Pakistan’s trade with Iran has fallen sharply during the last 20 months, indicating country’s weak approach towards regional trade. Trade with Iran in 2009-10 was $1,221 million which fell to just $439 million last year. On top of that Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan has cautioned all business chambers of the country to do business with Iranian companies at their own risk, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.