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Pakistan urged Iran for free up non-tariff barriers to boost bilateral trade

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-04-23 11:00:00 – Islamabad

Pakistan’s commerce minister has expressed the concerns on the unilateral import bans and emphasized elimination of all non-tariff barriers with his Iranian counterpart. The Iranian Commerce Minister assured that hurdles and obstacles in the way of bilateral trade would be removed through effective measures.

He has offered maximum facilitation for Pakistan’s private sector to hold and participate in trade exhibitions in Iran.

The two sides reviewed the present trade level and agreed to formulate a 5-year trade-facilitation plan to fulfill the shared vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Rouhani to increase bilateral trade from $1 billion to $5 billion.

Both sides also agreed to form a working group to devise substantial widening of the 2006 Pak-Iran Preferential Trade Agreement. The two sides also reiterated the need for joint investment in agro-food processing and infrastructure, particularly in the field of establishing effective rail, air, road and sea links between the two countries, as well as opening new border trade-posts at Mand-Pishin and Gabd-Reemdan.

Pakistan’s Commerce Minister enunciated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s vision to achieve shared prosperity through economic integration: enhancing trade, investment and connectivity of infrastructure, banking systems, Customs and visa.

The bilateral trade between countries had increased during first three years (2006-07 to 2008-09) of signing PTA, which later started declining after 2008-09. The trade volume between two sides enhanced to $1.32 billion in 2008-09 from $573.8 million of 2006-07.

However, later the trade figures reduced to $218 million in previous year 2013-14 from highest level of $1.32 billion. The volume declined due to several reasons like international sanctions against Iran, lack of banking channels and restrictive trade regime of Iran

Both sides mooted proposals for a joint free-trade zone between the ports of Chabahar and Gwadar, and a trade corridor to link Chabahar, Gwadar and Chaman.

The last Joint Trade Committee meeting was held in Islamabad in 2011.

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