Envoy calls for removal of Covid travel curbs on Iran

Says Islamabad has put Tehran in Category C that hinders flights, trade

APP October 19, 2021


With regard to Covid-19 restrictions, Pakistan has classified Iran in Category C, which is adversely affecting flight operations and bilateral trade, said Iranian Consul General Muhammad Raza Nazri.

Addressing the business community during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Monday, he pointed out that there was no such restriction from the Iranian side, hence Islamabad should remove its neighbour from Category C.

He requested Lahore and Quetta Chambers of Commerce to present their suggestions for the inclusion or exclusion of items in the barter trade list.

Referring to barter trade, he said that Pakistani officials decided to export rice and denim to Iran in exchange for electricity but the State Bank of Pakistan refused to facilitate the deal, therefore, the case was still pending.

The consul general said that Iran had abundant liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas and the Gulf country was ready to supply it to Pakistan under the barter trade agreement.

“Now, it is up to the government of Pakistan to take steps for facilitating the transaction,” he said.

The consul general noted that Iran had introduced various facilities for the import of mangoes from Pakistan and urged local exporters to take full advantage of them.

The envoy pointed out that Pakistan had slapped 50% duty on Iranian apples while Afghanistan charged just 10% levy. He requested the government of Pakistan to reduce the levy.

Read Iran ‘fully supports’ Pakistan’s regional approach on Afghanistan

He stated that Pakistani Consulate in Iran had delayed the issuance of visas to the Iranians while on the flip side, Iranian Consulate in Pakistan continued to approve visas without any delay. He called for expediting the visa process.

“Significant trade is taking place regardless of the US sanctions on Tehran and Iranian trucks should be allowed to enter Pakistan,” he emphasised.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir asked Iranian Consulate to forward all issues, related to barter trade, to the Lahore Chamber and promised to highlight them before Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.

According to him, joint ventures between Pakistani and Iranian traders can play a vital role in promoting bilateral trade.

“Both countries should focus on market research and prioritise each other in terms of imports and exports,” he stated. “There are some bottlenecks in the way of increasing trade between the two countries, which should be addressed on an immediate basis.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2021.

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