Pak-Iran entrepreneurs urged to expedite bilateral trade
LAHORE: Pakistani businessmen should expedite the process of joint ventures with their Iranian counterparts as both the countries have huge potential of touching the staggering trade figure of $10 billion.
Talking to a group of exporters on Monday, former Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) senior vice president Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan and Iran not only have common border but also share a glorious history.
Pakistan and Iran have close cultural affiliations and both have remained steady trading partners as well but in recent years, the momentum of trade has been affected seriously.
Mian Nauman said that Pakistan and Iran have the potential to cater to each other’s needs provided the businessmen have the exposure to available opportunities. “Iran is ready to start barter trade with Pakistan to facilitate businessmen and to jack-up the volume of two-way trade,” he said and added that business community of both the countries would have to increase interaction to share their experiences in the larger interests of the people of two brotherly nations. He said that volume of mutual trade between Pakistan and Iran does not match their respective potentials.
The former SVP said that the chambers of commerce of both countries would have to focus on expansion of trade by holding single country exhibitions and exchanging trade delegations to each other.
He said that dissemination of sector-specific and trade-related information would go a long way in achieving the goal.
“Pakistan is eagerly looking forward to expanding trade relations with Iran. It should be a matter of concern for both sides that in 2014, the volume of bilateral trade has decreased to $229 million, which is a record low in the decade. In 2009 and 2008, our two-way trade was as high as $1.21 billion and $1.16 billion respectively,” he mentioned. “Although imports from Iran to Pakistan are following increasing trend but our exports to Iran are constantly dropping. For example, Pakistan exported goods to Iran to the tune of $142 million in 2012, which dipped to $43 million in 2014. In contrast, Pakistan imports from Iran in 2012 were $120 million that inched up to $186 million in 2014.”
He stressed the need to find ways to increase the volume of two-way trade, asserting that Pakistan is already exporting meat to Iran and dairy sector can be another area to be explored for this purpose. The bilateral trade potential is estimated to be over $2 billion but it can only be materialised by making all out efforts, he added.
He hoped that work on Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline project would be expedited, as it would not only play a significant role in addressing the energy crisis of Pakistan but also further augment the trade relations between the two countries, adding that import of electricity from Iran can also be a good venture.