KARACHI - Iranian Deputy Commerce Minister Abbas Ghobadi has assured Pakistani rice exporters that the problems identified by them in the way of rice exports to Iran will be resolved.
Talking to the exporters of rice and wheat at the head office of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), he said that Iran prefers Pakistani rice.
Referring to the import of wheat, he made it clear that Iranian market was quality conscious and import of wheat would depend upon its acceptability by Iranian consumers.
He advised the wheat traders to nominate a focal person for follow up meeting on import of wheat which would be held on February 24, in the city. Ghobadi noted that relationship between two Islamic countries could go a long way in the presence of good railway, road and sea links.
He indicated that the volume of trade between Pakistan and Iran would increase up to $10 billion and the outcome of this meeting would help in formulating appropriate trade policy for ensuring sustained trade between the countries. The meeting was followed by informal talks between exporters and the Iranian delegates.
Safdar Mehkri, Vice Chairman REAP, and Zahid W Khawaja, Member Executive Committee REAP, highlighted the potential of Pakistan’s export surplus of rice and identified the hurdles faced by their exporters while doing business with their Iranian counterparts.
They requested the Iranian minister to give preferential treatment to Pakistan’s rice by extending a zero import duty regime for rice import from Pakistan under already signed PTA with any future change to it only after mutual agreement.
Abdul Kaleem Baakza of Wheat Traders Association of Pakistan requested the Iranian government to facilitate the wheat exporters of Pakistan by removing administrative hurdles confronted by the sectors.
Meanwhile, while talking to businessmen at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abbas Ghobadi agreed to the proposals of the KCCI president for joint ventures in agricultural sector and informed that efforts were underway to establish banking channel and execute commercial activities between the port of Iman Khomeni, Bunder Abbas and Karachi ports.
He said that security issues need to be addressed to increase Pak-Iran trade. “Iran was focusing on regional trade particularly with Pakistan and Central Asian Republics, he added.
Abbas said Iran was maintaining barter trade with India and China, and likewise, through barter system, Iran-Pakistan can be enhanced. He said Iranian companies had good business relations with their US counterparts and there was a negative propaganda by the media about Iran-US relations. He emphasized for vibrant chamber-to-chamber interactions from both sides.
He said the recent visit of President Ahmadinejad to Pakistan shows the importance Iranian government gives to its relations with Pakistan. He appreciated the role of Iran-Pakistan Embassies and Consulate Generals in respective countries to uplift the trade and strengthen the economic cooperation.
President KCCI Mian Abrar Ahmad asserted upon the dire need of establishing banking channels, port-to-port activities and customs clearance mechanism between Iran and Pakistan. He urged to develop regional trading block of ECO countries, particularly between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.
He said that the biased policies of USA & West never allowed economic independence to Pakistan as allowed to other countries in the region. He articulated to build trading blocks with SAARC countries, Central Asian Republics, particularly between Iran and Pakistan.
He proposed that trade between Pakistan and Iran should be permitted in local currencies instead of dollars and the trade through railways should be regularized.