FEBR calls for removing non-trade barriers

FEBR calls for removing non-trade barriers

FEBR calls for removing non-trade barriers

RECORDER REPORT

LAHORE: The Friends of Economic and Business Reforms (FEBR) has called for removal of non-trade barriers to pursue a target of $5 billion worth bilateral trade from the current value of $1.3 billion trade between Iran and Pakistan, as the US sanctions on Tehran have affected normal trade activities between the two countries.

FEBR President Kashif Anwar also called for expediting efforts to enter into a final barter trade deal between Pakistan and Iran, as the two neighbouring countries were recently holding a round of talks during their 8th meeting of Joint Trade Committee to review progress on trade issues.

He welcomed Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Commerce Reza Rahmani, who was on official visit to Pakistan, saying it would open opportunities for enhancing bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

He while proposing to set up a barter exchange mechanism for trading goods, stressed the need to identify trade items that could properly work in a barter mechanism.

He hinted that Iran could offer Islamabad an array of export items manufactured in the Iranian construction sector and barter them for Pakistan’s agricultural and pharmaceutical products, as the Preferential Trade Agreement between the two countries was not fully utilised due to international sanctions on Iran.

Kashif Anwar, former LCCI vice president, said that establishing the barter committee was agreed during a trip in April to Tehran by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The idea came after the two sides failed to finalize a long-awaited agreement on free trade, citing reasons such as US sanctions and the fact that a previous preferential trade deal, signed in 2006 had failed to be fully materialized. Presently, Pakistan and Iran enjoy PTA which gives concessions on 18 percent of items, which is not being implemented. Due to which Pakistan is losing its market of mangoes, rice, citrus fruit and other agriculture items.

Pakistan has huge potential in exporting of these agriculture products and edible fruit and vegetables, while in return Iran has potential to export crude oil and petroleum products. He said the volume of Pakistan’s export to Iran remained just $21 million and import from Iran was $377 million.

He further added that being brotherly and neighbouring countries the two countries should further strengthen existing trade ties for the well being of the peoples of both countries.

He urged to address all the issues which are hampering bilateral trade, creating win-win situation for both the countries. He said that to start barter trade, at the first instance both the countries should select few items with a competitive advantage. In this regard, Pakistan can enhance export of wheat, sugar, rice and fruit to Iran.

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