LAHORE: Mashhad Mayor Mohammad Pezhman has said that Pakistan and Iran should pool their resources to “become a big market which could cater to the needs of the world.”
Pezhman, who was heading a 25-member Iranian delegation, was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Thursday. He said that the business communities of the two countries should share their experiences in the larger interests of the people. He said that the volume of trade between Pakistan and Iran “did not match the depth of their friendly relations” and added that both countries should remove hurdles coming in the way of the promotion of mutual trade.
Both should focus on expansion of trade by holding single- country exhibitions and by sending maximum trade delegations to each other’s country, he pointed out. Pezhman said that it was the duty of the chambers of commerce of Iran and Pakistan to ensure dissemination of sector- specific and trade-related information. He said that both the countries should also share their experiences in the field of science and technology, adding that agriculture, tourism and metal industries of Iran offered a lot of investment opportunities which the Pakistani business community should avail.
“Market research should be conducted regarding the range of products. Priority should be given to each other for import of goods rather than buying from other countries,” he said. There is a lot of scope for collaboration in SMEs and mega projects like onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration, hydel and coal-based energy projects, paper and board, sugar, cement, chemicals, transport and communications, construction of roads, science and education, handicraft, artificial jewellery, carpet and furniture, he said.
LCCI President Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry said that Pakistan is an agricultural country bestowed with a variety of seasons and agro-based products. However, “due to lack of post-harvest technology a lot of agriculture produce is wasted. Hence, cooperation in technology from Iran can help Pakistan’s agro-based food processing and dairy industry to improve. “Pakistan is one of the leading countries and known around the globe for its textile products, which still need to be properly introduced in Iranian business houses.
Such efforts can also prove vital to improving the trade balance, which is in Iran’s favour,” he said. Chaudhry said cereals were the largest export item to Iran, which accounted for 44.89 per cent of total exports. Leather, travel goods, cotton and manmade staple fibres have a share of 9 to 12 per cent, he said.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 13th, 2010.
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