BY : Azhar ul Haq Wahid
LAHORE: Pakistan and Iran have exemplary trade and economic relations. Other countries have to spend billions of dollars to establish these kinds of relations which Pakistan and Iran are enjoying naturally.
These were the words of Iranian Consul General Mohammad Reza Nazeri during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Thursday.
President LCCI Mian Tariq Misbah, Senior Vice President Nasir Hameed Khan, Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry, Former President Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman, Sohail Lashari, former Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa, Ali Hussam Asghar, former Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmed and LCCI executive Committee Members were also present on the occasion.
Reza Nazeri further said that if someone wants to travel to Tehran, he can reach there in less than three hours as a direct weekly flight from Lahore to Tehran is starting from next week.
He said Iranian and Pakistani businessmen have a strong relationship which is strengthening by every passing day, adding that Pakistan and Iran and LCCI and Iranian Consulate should work more to further reinforce the relationship and cooperation.
Iranian Counsel General said that before COVID-19 outbreak, our ambassador to Pakistan and the LCCI have agreed to hold webinars between chambers to explore the trade opportunities between two countries, adding that, due to Corona the plans were delayed and we hope that now as the situation seems better these webinars will be held along with the Persian language courses in the LCCI.
He also congratulated the LCCI former President Sohail Lashari on becoming the President of the Pak-Iran Joint Chamber of Commerce.
President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mian Tariq Misbah said that LCCI takes pride while quoting the excellent working relations between Lahore Chamber and Iran Consulate in Lahore.
He said there are hundreds of LCCI members who have benefited from maximum facilitation from your side especially through honoring LCCI’s recommendation for granting visa. Both the countries have large domestic markets and unique geo-strategic competitive advantages but we have yet to enhance our trade volume by making use of these opportunities.
According to the trade data available on ITC World Trade Map, Pakistan’s exports to Iran in 2019 were 4.6 million dollars while our imports from Iran in the same period were 532.6 million dollars. This puts our total trade volume with Iran at around 537 million dollars.
Mian Tariq Misbah said 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 the pharmaceutical Industry in Pakistan to enhance its exports by tapping the Iranian market.
Senior Vice President LCCI Nasir Hameed Khan said that we are well aware of the fact that lack of sound Banking Channels is the prime cause of this low trade volume. Both Iran and Pakistan should collaborate to devise a specialized mechanism for enhancing trade. The presence an Iranian financial institution in Pakistan can greatly help in this regard. It is also a high time for both countries to make progress in Barter Trade mechanism for facilitating trade.
Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry said through ensuring strict vigilance on both sides on smuggling & undocumented trade, we can also improve the figures of bilateral trade, adding that we are hopeful that once the COVID situation improves, there will be a regular exchange of export oriented delegation which would facilitate in B2B interaction, adding this will help both sides in strengthening their knowledge about each other’s markets.