LAHORE: There is tremendous scope to strengthen trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Iran, as both countries are big markets and home to a joint population of 280 million people.
This was said by Pakistan Ambassador to Iran Asif Khan Durrani during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). Former LCCI presidents and executive committee members also spoke on the occasion.
Talking about the hurdles in trade, the ambassador said that the unavailability of banking channels is one of the biggest reasons of limited trade between the two countries. Through exploiting trade and investment opportunities, mutual trade volume could easily touch new heights, he added.
Durrani invited the Pakistani businessmen to participate in the ‘Aleeshan Pakistan’ exhibition being held in Tehran from March 4 to 7, adding that it would provide an opportunity to establish new contacts with their Iranian counterparts, which is essential to boosting two-way trade.
The Iranian president and Pakistan prime minister have already agreed to boost trade volume to $5 billion.
Referring to the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline project, he said that a lot of work had already been done and after the completion of the project enough gas would be available to cater to Pakistan’s needs. Inviting the delegation of Pakistani businessmen to Iran, the ambassador said that Pakistani Embassy in Iran would provide maximum support and facilities to the delegation members.
LCCI President Abdul Basit said that mutual trade is at the lowest level of the decade. During the year 2015 Pakistan’s imports and exports with Iran stood at $261 million and $32 million, respectively. However, these statistics do not match the existing potential, he added.
He stressed focus on this issue and said that mutual trade could easily increase to $1 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2016.