TEHRAN – A delegation of businessmen and private sector representatives from Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) left Tehran for Pakistan on Tuesday to meet with Pakistani officials and explore avenues of mutual cooperation.

 

Getting acquainted with Pakistan's trade laws and regulations, familiarizing with the country’s business capacities and investment fields as well as exploring ways to increase the level of transit between the two countries are among the major goals of the Iranian delegation’s visit to the country, the ICCIMA portal reported.

As reported, the 26-member delegation, including the head of the Iran-Pakistan joint chamber of commerce, the heads of the three provincial chambers of Isfahan, Zanjan, and Zahedan, the secretary general of the ECO chamber of commerce, and some MPs, is due to visit cities of Karachi and Lahore.

According to ICCIMA Head Gholam-Hossein Shafeie, who is heading the delegations, the purpose of this trip is also to identify Pakistan's business and investment capacities.

The visit will provide an opportunity for the Iranian private sector representatives to meet their counterparts face-to-face, the official said.

Iran-Pakistan to ink FTA soon

On the second day of their visit to Pakistan, the Iranian delegation attended a business meeting hosted by Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, the president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI).

In this meeting, the two sides agreed to form a Joint Arbitration Committee to follow up on the negotiations for signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

According to Shafeie, the general aspects of the mentioned FTA have been finalized and the agreement will be signed in the near future.

Speaking at the business forum, Shafeie expressed hope for the realization of a five-billion-dollar trade target between the two countries, saying: “We intend to implement a new economic plan and make the most of the friendly relations between the economic and private sectors of the two countries to advance cooperation based on the plans made.”

He mentioned the creation of the Iran-Pakistan joint business council as a special opportunity for the expansion of economic relations and invited businessmen of the two countries to become members of this council in order to exchange information and opinions.

According to the ICCIMA head, the complementary nature of the economies of the two countries has provided a unique opportunity for boosting trade exchanges.

“Iran is one of the major suppliers of energy in the world and the country is ready to meet Pakistan's growing needs in the energy sector,” he said.

Shafeie further underlined transit as another potential area for economic cooperation between the two countries and said: "During this year, special cooperation has been formed in this field. If the existing minor problems and issues are resolved, an east-west high-speed corridor will be formed that would facilitate transportation.”

Referring to the proximity of Chabahar port to Pakistan's ports, including Gwadar, the head of the Iranian Chamber said: "This will help develop regional trade by creating sea transportation lines."

Expanding trade through barter trade, holding exhibitions

Elsewhere in the meeting, Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Ali Hosseini also underlined the upward trend of trade relations between the two countries despite the sanctions against Iran and the pandemic as an indication of the two countries’ determination for strengthening economic relations and said: “increasing trade exchanges to the level of five billion dollars is a goal set by the two governments and in this regard, we must support the private sectors of the two sides to be able to get to know each other's capabilities and areas of business and investment.”

He emphasized the implementation of a barter trade mechanism, holding specialized exhibitions in different cities of the two countries, and exchanging trade delegations between the two sides as measures that should be taken for the expansion of trade relations and emphasized that the two sides should follow up on the agreements reached during this meeting.