Iran agrees to consider being part of CPEC

Published: September 2, 2015
Pakistan proposed concessionary fares between Zahedan and Quetta by the time freight traffic picks up pace. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan proposed concessionary fares between Zahedan and Quetta by the time freight traffic picks up pace. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran have agreed to consider linking the latter with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in an effort to strengthen border markets and upgrade road and railway networks.

“Pakistan has invited Iran to become part of the CPEC and help strengthen border markets, upgrade railways, build warehouses and open/upgrade border crossing points,” said a senior officer in the Ministry of Commerce while talking to The Express Tribune.

During a meeting of the Pak-Iran Joint Working Group and Technical Committee on Trade, in the last week of August, the two sides discussed trade and investment-related issues and how to frame a five-year strategic plan to enhance bilateral trade.

Read: Iran not against CPEC, Gwadar port: Javad Zarif

They met in the backdrop of possible lifting of sanctions from Iran by the international community.

They agreed on the need of implementing the bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), including promotion of transparency and establishment of a mechanism that issues prior notification.

Expected freight train operations also came up for review and the Iranian side was reminded that in the Zaheden meeting in May this year, Pakistan had stressed the need for beginning the services on a regular basis.

In the subsequent meeting on August 19 and 20, both sides agreed to offer freight train services on the 1st and 15th of each month, subject to availability of cargo.

Pakistan proposed concessionary fares between Zahedan and Quetta by the time freight traffic picks up pace.

It was suggested that representatives from the respective ministries, responsible for agricultural matters, should participate in meetings of the Joint Working Group on Trade to facilitate decision-making regarding trade in agro-products.

“The Iranian delegation will convey all proposals and suggestions to the authorities concerned in their country and inform about the decisions later,” said the official in the Ministry of Commerce.

Read: Iran’s strategic port offer to help India bypass Pakistan

He added Iran was also interested in linking itself with the CPEC to expand its border markets with regional countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd,  2015.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Raj - USA
    Sep 2, 2015 - 8:41AM

    If Pakistan has invited Iran and Iran has agreed to join CPEC it is good. However, the real test is if Iran is allowed to join in development of Gawadar port and not restricted to join only in the road network. Gawadar port, whether it becomes China’s naval base or a commercial port, is the main issue.Recommend

  • Reality Check
    Sep 2, 2015 - 9:19AM

    Good show keep up this good work!!Recommend

  • Khan
    Sep 2, 2015 - 9:32AM

    How about building the gas pipeline first??Recommend

  • Naveed
    Sep 2, 2015 - 9:32AM

    Don’t trust Iranians, Iran and Afghanistan are two snakes..
    our closeness with Iran will bring Saudi,Gulf and India closer..
    we have nothing much to gain from Iran…our true friends and trustworthy partners are Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, who has proven again and again their friendship with Pakistan, but Iranian and afghans have always backstabbed Pakistan many times, and supported India…
    so don’t go with Iran, otherwise in reaction Saudi,gulf states will come closer to India.Recommend

  • Sonya
    Sep 2, 2015 - 9:52AM

    Time for us to rekindle the old and famous RCD.Recommend

  • Kaleem
    Sep 2, 2015 - 9:57AM

    I am afraid, this gesture will irk Arab states and friendship with Iran won’t give much benefit to us,
    Pakistan will realize extent of the Arab anger when the problem in Yemen has been resolved,
    Pakistan has benefited hugely from the Arabs over the past decades so let’s not spoil our old friendship with Arab states for untrustworthy IranRecommend

  • Sonya
    Sep 2, 2015 - 10:02AM

    This is a good initiative to make Iran a stakeholder in CPEC and reap benefits long term. Pakistan may need to offer some stakes in the Gawadar Port alongwith Chinese to make this happen solidly. Similarly Iran, Turkey and Pakistan can revive RCD and get China into it, this will connect Pakistan by road and rail to European markets.Recommend

    Sep 2, 2015 - 10:03AM

    CPEC roads should not be limited to few countries acceptable to Pakistan and China but all countries in the region including India. It is a trade route and every one should get its benefit. Recommend

  • Sep 2, 2015 - 10:08AM

    Viva and Bravo! Keep up the good work. Whatever, are the negatives, they must be kept at the back of the mind and in the forefront, all positives must take on primacy. SalamsRecommend

  • Ridwan
    Sep 2, 2015 - 10:17AM

    @Raj – USA:
    I see no reason why Pakistan would bar Iran from investing in the Gwadar area, just as Iran would probably not bar Pakistan from investing in Chah Bahar. The relationship between Pakistan and Iran is largely based on cooperation and has very little nationalist rivalry involved. And both countries need all the investment they can possible get. Recommend

  • SK
    Sep 2, 2015 - 10:30AM

    Every sane decision maker in Iran will opt for this if Iran wanted to have whole central Asia opened up for business, hopefully sanity will prevailRecommend

  • ajeet
    Sep 2, 2015 - 10:57AM

    Iran might not bar China from investing in Chabar port, but not Pakistan. This game is between India and china, and you and Iran are the coins. If Pakistan had the money, it would have built the CEPC on its own and not ask china for loan.Recommend

  • Shariq Shakil
    Sep 2, 2015 - 11:00AM

    Good counter move by Pakistan. It seems that CPEC is answering all INDIAN moves in the region…Recommend

  • Saleem
    Sep 2, 2015 - 11:20AM

    An excellent initiative. This economic corridor can bring prosperity to neglected areas in both Pakistan and Iran. The comments from indian friends shows there concerns. They were dreaming of inciting Iran and Afghanistan and using them against Pakistan. Here the investment they made in Chabahar port goes down the drain. Iran can capitalize on the rise of western China instead of becoming part of back stabbing politics of India.Recommend

  • waseem
    Sep 2, 2015 - 11:20AM

    @ajeet: The real game is between China and US/Europe. In your context, even India is a coin. Recommend

  • Sep 2, 2015 - 11:40AM
    Pl read this link. Every thing will b clear to everybody Recommend

  • Sep 2, 2015 - 11:42AM

    I’ve been same this that not only Iran but Turkey and other central Asian states gonna join this mega project of CPEC. No surprise. Iran knows riding bandwagon with india neither practical nor logical and only valid option is Pakistan, China and CPEC.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Sep 2, 2015 - 1:13PM

    Gwadar and Pakistan are not part of Chinese strategy to confront USA, but they are part if strategy to confront India. So India can’t be a coin here.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Sep 2, 2015 - 2:02PM

    @Khurram Shahazad
    Even Venezuela might be interested, but lets see if it gets started.Recommend

  • Awais Khan
    Sep 2, 2015 - 3:06PM

    They have already built their part of the pipe-line.They are waiting for Pak to complete its part of pipe-line.So the delay is from our side.Recommend

  • Pakistani Sindhi
    Sep 2, 2015 - 3:33PM

    @ajeet: China does not give a darn about India. Recommend

  • Pakistani Sindhi
    Sep 2, 2015 - 3:41PM

    @ajeet: If you don’t know anything then don’t waste your energy on it – it seems you are aimlessly pushing in unworthy presence of India here (it doesn’t belong in this article – rest your stalking)Recommend

  • Bilal Umar
    Sep 2, 2015 - 5:33PM

    @Naveed: Dear you might have very short memory but unluckily many here do not havee. Do not forget the statement of UAE foreign minister when Pakistan refused to go in Yemen war on parliament’s consent.

    Also you forgot the visit of PM Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the UAE, the first state visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the country in 34 years at the invitation of His Highness Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed AI Nahyan.

    Persons there to receive included FM, and Crown Prince himself, along with his five brothers
    – They agreed to elevate India-UAE relationship to strategic partnership.

    — Establish a dialogue between their National Security Advisors and National Security Councils. The National Security Advisors, together with other high level representatives for security from both nations, will meet every six months.
    — Cooperate to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of both countries.

    — Strengthen defence relations, including through regular exercises and training of naval, air, land and Special Forces, and in coastal defence. India warmly welcomed UAE’s decision to participate in International Fleet Review in India in February 2016.

    — Work together to promote peace, reconciliation, stability, inclusiveness and cooperation in the wider South Asia, Gulf and West Asia region.

    — Support efforts for peaceful resolution of conflicts and promote adherence to the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the conduct of relations between nations and settlement of disputes.

    — Call on all nations to fully respect and sincerely implement their commitments to resolve disputes bilaterally and peacefully, without resorting to violence and terrorism.

    — Establish a Strategic Security Dialogue between the two governments.

    Cooperate in peaceful uses of nuclear energy including in areas like safety, health, agriculture and science and technology.

    and last but not the least agreed to create UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund, with the aim of reaching a target of USD 75 billion to support investment in India’s plans for rapid expansion of next generation infrastructure, especially in railways, ports, roads, airports and industrial corridors and parks. IF this 75 Bn USD investment would come in Pakistan how much development and employment oppurtuties could be created.

    But unluckily we are AL BAKISTANI who can’t think outside the AL ARAB.Recommend

  • sajjad
    Sep 2, 2015 - 5:48PM

    The game in the middle – east have been changed. Thats why west came to the same table with iran. Relations between Russia -china -iran also a big reason too . USA actually wants to break this alliance between them . The main headache for the US is russia and china. But the game changer in this game will be india pakistan and iran. Lets see who win this game.!!! I pakistan will be the main benificial from this game and hopefully they’ll be make up their loss last ten years. I don’t think what saudi thinks about this relation. you knows brother they can’t protect u .if Pakistan needs peach in balochistan and this region .Iran may be the best partner than saudis and arbs.Because the first priority for the Pakistan should be stability ..( This is point of view.may be wrong)Recommend

  • Reddy
    Sep 2, 2015 - 8:49PM

    this story is a plant from pakistan. aimed at pakistanis who lack logic or common sense .. Recommend

  • Pro-Pakistani
    Sep 3, 2015 - 11:10AM

    I see the tears in India eyes. And yes it is a great move my the Pakistani authority. We must share more co-operative relationship with Iran. Recommend

  • waseem
    Sep 3, 2015 - 3:38PM

    @ajeet. You had a point had Gawadar located near Indian borders. Having a strategic location near middle east, the current attraction for China from Gawadar is access to middle east oil as import and rest of things to export. This is also because Gawadar is the only deep sea port in this region after Colombo. For defence point of view, they China can negotiate any place for a port on Sindhi side.Recommend

  • someone
    Sep 4, 2015 - 7:39AM

    @Pakistani Sindhi:
    LOL. Why do you think they are interested in Pakistan? India is the only country that can challenge Chinese dominance of industrial production. India is already ahead from China in service industry and if India takes over China in assembly and manufacturing too, China would not be as dominant as it is seen today.Recommend

  • Julian
    Sep 4, 2015 - 6:52PM

    @someone. Man you really need to get your figures right. Indian economy primarily (am emphasising word primarily) depends on i) IT and call centres (that again rely on other economies in US and couple other countries), ii) film industry, iii) a bunch of cricketers and iv) huge population working abroad and bringing in foreign exchange (majority maids). Yes it also exports agricultural produce but that’s something many others are doing. Honestly, comparing India with China is nothing but a wishful desire of Indians. Even major world economies are dependent on China direcly as well as on Chinese investors indirectly. Recommend

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