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LAHORE: The trade delegation of Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), led by its President Mian Nauman Kabir has high-profile meetings in Iran.

The delegation members have meeting with President Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines Masoud Khansari, attended Iran-Pakistan Business Forum, B2B meetings with Iranian counterparts and also attended a dinner hosted by Ambassador of Pakistan in Iran Rahim Hayat Qureshi.

According to the spokesperson of the LCCI, the discussion on the occasions remained fruitful and would definitely pave way for trade, investment and joint ventures between the private sectors of the two countries.

LCCI President said that we, from the platform of Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, always strive for developing and strengthening close working relations with foreign business communities. He said that Lahore Chamber is firm believer of trade diplomacy and for that matter we also regularly interact with foreign counterparts. It is needless to mention that Iran is closest to our hearts.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that Iran and Pakistan have always enjoyed smooth development of friendly and neighbourly relations as well as mutually beneficial cooperation. “We take Iran as an important neighbouring country and a potential trading partner. We have been maintaining strong cultural and diplomatic relations with Iran,” he added.

LCCI President said that both the countries have large domestic markets and unique geo-strategic competitive advantages but we have yet to enhance our trade volume by making good use of these opportunities.

He informed the Iranian counterparts that Lahore Chamber has been voicing in favour of exploring new avenues other than bilateral trade for the sake of enhancing cooperation between two countries.

He said that the key purpose of our visit to Iran is to explore the Iranian markets for further developing the trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that the importance of such interaction is hard to be measured as these kinds of meetings cause to arrange more and more follow up meetings which ultimately lead to establish long lasting trade and economic relations. The constant exchanges of business delegations between Pakistan and Iran is one of the key indicators that both the nations seriously want to seize the increasing trend occurring in balance of trade for the last five years or so.

The LCCI President said that Pakistan is inviting foreign investors in many of its sectors where Iran, being the next door neighbour, can take full benefit of the available opportunities. These sectors are renewable energy, construction & housing, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Railways. Moreover, in the manufacturing sector automotive, retail market, electronics & other electric equipment, pharmaceutical, industrial and commercial machinery etc., are picking up.

He said that the potential sectors where Pakistan and Iran can enhance trade are value-added textiles, pharmaceuticals and rice. Iran is one of the biggest consumers of Denim in the region while Pakistani rice has a strong market in Iran. There is also a great potential for both countries to initiate joint ventures in the field of energy.

While talking to Ambassador of Pakistan in Iran Rahim Hayat Qureshi, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan and Iran have been steady trading partners but with every passing year the bilateral trade is declining. We are concerned about constant fall in our exports to Iran which used to be around $426 million in 2008. In 2021, its level went down to almost nothing which calls for taking immediate measures.

He hoped business meetings with Iranian counterparts will play key role in reviving the national exports to Iran.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that it goes without saying that our Embassies along with their subsidiary consulate offices have certain role to play to facilitate the business community of Pakistan who are very eager to develop trade relations with their counterparts in major economies.

Ambassador of Pakistan in Iran Rahim Hayat Qureshi said that the business community of Pakistan would be facilitated to enhance trade between Pakistan and Iran.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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