Despite all odds, bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran is good, said Iranian Consul General Mohammad Reza Nazeri.
In a meeting with office-bearers of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday, the Iranian envoy voiced hope that mutual trade and economic relations would be strengthened further in the future.
The consul general called on the LCCI office-bearers to hold detailed discussions on trade and economic relations between the two countries.
He extended an invitation to the LCCI members, asking them to participate in two separate exhibitions of hot and cool equipment and medical equipment to be held in Iran after 10 days and 40 days respectively.
Nazeri stressed that Pakistan and Iran had common borders and cultural bonds. "Iran has always tried to strengthen bilateral relations with its neighbouring countries and Pakistan remains its first priority," he told businessmen while promising full support from the Iranian Consulate to the trade delegations.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said an export desk would be set up at the chamber very soon. He underlined that Pakistan and Iran had huge domestic markets and a unique geostrategic competitive advantage.
"In order to make use of each other's strong areas, both countries need to make joint efforts," he emphasised. "Latest trade figures do not reflect the actual potential of trade that exists between the two nations."
Quoting data from the ITC Trade Map, he noted that bilateral trade exhibited an upward trend in the past two years. In 2017, the volume of two-way trade was $354 million, which rose to $397 million in 2018.
In 2016, Pakistan exported $36 million worth of goods to Iran, which contracted to $27 million in the following year. He lamented that the figure fell further to $23 million in 2018.
"By reducing smuggling and undocumented trade, we can quickly improve bilateral commerce," the chamber president added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2019.
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