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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran have signed a 32-point memorandum of understanding (MoU) for promotion of bilateral trade between the two countries.

It is learnt that the MoU was signed at the ninth meeting of Iran-Pakistan Joint Trade Committee held in Zahedan (Iran).

Both sides have agreed to take measures to expand the annual trade exchanges by the year 2023. As a result of the MoU, Pak-Iran trade relations and barter trade would flourish and continue without hurdles.

Pakistani delegation was led by Muhammad Sadiq, Chief Collector Customs (Balochistan) and Iranian side was headed by General Manager of Industry, Mine and Trade Organisation, Iran. Both the senior officials signed the MoU on behalf of the respective countries.

President Chamber of Commerce & Industry Quetta Fida Hussain Dashti and Senior Vice President Haji Ayyub and Vice President Amjad Ali Siddiqui and other senior officials of the QCCI were also present.

The signing ceremony took place at the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the Iran-Pakistan Joint Trade Committee, which was tasked with paving the ground for enhancing trade ties between the two countries.

A six-member committee was constituted comprising officials from customs, border and trade. The committee would review the status of the implementation of the decisions of the Iran-Pakistan Joint Trade Committee. The first meeting of the committee would be held in July 2022 in Pakistan. The next meeting will be held in Iran.

Under the MoU both the sides agreed on the operationalisation of the five-year strategic trade in the field of transportation, increase the basket of barter trade, build joint border markets as well as reduce tariffs.

Customs authorities of Pak and Iran would establish a hotline to facilitate traders of both sides.

Both sides agreed to ensure phase-wise implementation of border markets and investors’ access to the special economic zones for enchanting trade between the two countries. The six market places are to be established on the border between Pakistan’s Balochistan province and the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

The full implementation of the MoU would not only promote trade activities between the two countries but also help create massive job opportunities for their people.

The MoU would also ensure the speedy establishment of joint border markets in efforts to strengthen cross-border economic exchanges and crack down on illegal border trade.

On the conclusion, Pakistani side was confident that we hope the promotion of bilateral trade will make the two brotherly countries economically prosperous. The QCCI members had always played a vital role in promoting legal trade between Pakistan and Iran for which they deserved commendation.

Customs officials referred to the determination for expansion of bilateral economic relations, stipulating that Iran was ready to remove obstacles in the way of developing trade exchanges with Pakistan in a bid to enhance economic ties with the neighbouring country.

Pakistan has a narrow export basket to Iran, as 63 per cent of the exports comprised rice alone. A preferential trade agreement (PTA) was signed with Iran in 2006. Tariff concessions were granted to Iran on 309 tariff lines whereas Pakistan was given concessions on 338 tariff lines. Major sectors covered under the PTA were rice, fruits, cotton, cotton yarn, pharmaceutical products and cutlery.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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