LAHORE: While pledging to enhance bilateral trade volumes to $10 billion, Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Ali Reza Haghighian has said that talks on gas and electricity projects are well underway and will be actualised soon.
The ambassador made these remarks while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday. Haghighian said the business communities of Iran and Pakistan should increase interaction and share their experiences for the greater benefit of the citizens of the two nations.
Haghighian said it was the duty of commerce chambers in both Iran and Pakistan to ensure dissemination of sector-specific and trade-related information.
Haghighian revealed that a strategy will be formulated in order to remove impediments in the way of two-way trade; and that to achieve desired results, new targets will be set in the light of past experiences.
He said the agricultural, livestock and garments sectors in Iran have potential for investment, and the Pakistani business community should avail this opportunity.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh called for measures to curb smuggling, which he said is spreading fast and hindering the expansion of bilateral trade. He said that trade levels over the last few years have hovered around the level of over a billion dollars. From 2008 to 2010, trade stood around $1.16 billion, $1.21 billion and $1.07 billion per annum respectively, he informed.
There is potential to improve trade levels to over $10 billion, if smuggling is curtailed and trade via third destinations is reduced in favour of direct trade, he said.
The LCCI president said the balance of trade has traditionally favoured Iran, but the gap has been increasing over the last couple of years.
“We would like a share in bilateral trade which guarantees economic benefits to Pakistan as well. By having some access to trade inquiries, we can improve the scenario,” Sheikh claimed.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.
More in BusinessWAPDA engineers salvage Rs200 million