PESHAWAR: In a bid to strengthen relationship with the Iranian business community, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Vice President Riaz Khattak has emphasised the need for Pakistan and Iran to transform their ties into a successful economic partnership.
In a meeting with Iranian Commercial Counsellor Mostafa Razavi Zadeh, Khattak said Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) was rich in hydroelectric power resources and it wanted Iranian companies to come and invest in the province.
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“Similarly, we have rich potential in the marble and granite sector that also needs attention of the Iranian companies,” he said.
In this regard, the FPCCI’s K-P chapter will organise a visit of a delegation in May to different chambers of commerce in Iran, which will promote business-to-business interaction.
FPCCI Regional Standing Committee on Horticulture Exports Chairman Ahmad Jawad stressed that the Iranian president’s recent visit showed that Pakistan attached great importance to its relationship with Tehran.
“We welcome the proposal for a free trade agreement (FTA) from the Iranian side as it will help boost the trade volumes,” he said.
After the lifting of international sanctions, the business community is eager to kick-start trade with Iran, especially in Halal meat, kinnow and rice and has called on the Agriculture Ministry of Iran to speed up the process of setting standard operating procedures for sanitary requirements.
Jawad floated a proposal, suggesting that the Agriculture Ministry of Iran and Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce may grant special tariff concessions under the FTA on the export of fresh fruits and vegetables from K-P.
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“As K-P has rich potential and produces delicious fruits in the mountainous region, most of the produce here is organic due to the favourable climatic conditions,” he added.
He also invited officials of the Iranian embassy to visit the FPCCI’s Peshawar office and meet horticulture exporters so that both sides could exactly know about the common opportunities.
Praising the keen interest in Pak-Iran trade, Razavi said both sides had agreed in a recent meeting that they would outline proposals to strengthen the trade relationship.
He also appreciated the efforts aimed at establishing long-awaited banking links between the two countries. In this regard, Habib Bank Limited is going to open its branch in Iran soon.
Iran has allowed only 10% preferential duty access under the preferential trade agreement (PTA), but after the FTA is finalised, 90% preferential duties will be applied to Pakistani commodities, which will prove to be a great relief for the business community of Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2016.
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