Pakistan and Iran have taken a significant step towards enhancing trade and economic cooperation by formulating a comprehensive five-year plan. Setting a target of $5 billion for bilateral trade, this agreement focuses on key areas such as the gas pipeline, economic zones, the power sector, operationalising border markets, and tourism. This initiative holds immense potential for Pakistan’s economy, aiding in addressing the balance of trade and our payments deficit.
The plan includes the completion of the long-delayed Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, as emphasised by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, during his three-day visit. The operationalisation of the remaining five border markets is prioritised to be completed by the end of this year. Additionally, the agreement outlines the establishment of a special economic free trade region along the shared border points. This comprehensive plan aims to remove trade impediments, finalise a free trade agreement, and promote institutional linkages between private sectors in both countries.
This trade and economic cooperation plan represents a positive stride towards strengthening bilateral ties between Pakistan and Iran. It holds significant potential to address Pakistan’s balance of trade and payments deficit through increased export opportunities, contributing to our economic stability and growth. Pakistan must now prioritise the establishment of projects and trade lines that emphasise exports. Cooperation between private and public businesses will be vital in driving export-oriented growth and diversifying Pakistan’s export base, ultimately leading to sustained economic development.
The trade and economic cooperation plan provides a valuable opportunity to strengthen the already friendly ties between Pakistan and Iran. The framework established in advance showcases the intent of both countries to foster deeper economic integration. Pakistan must seize this opportunity to enhance trade relations, promote tourism, and explore mutual investment opportunities. Although the forthcoming government after the elections will shoulder the responsibility of implementing this plan, it is encouraging to see the groundwork being laid in advance. By capitalising on this opportunity, Pakistan can secure a prosperous future marked by increased trade, economic growth, and regional stability.