Iran wants enhanced trade ties with Pakistan, says Iranian consul general

MULTAN: Pakistan and Iran enjoy good friendly relations which should be translated into enhanced economic cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.
This was stated by Consul General of Iranian Consulate General in Lahore Muhammad Hussain Bani Asadi while addressing a gathering of industrialists at Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) on Tuesday.
The mutual trade between the two countries could go far beyond five billion dollars per annum and Joint Economic Commission was an appropriate forum to suggest ways to remove hurdles in way of trade expansion, the Iranian Consul General said.
He pointed out lack of trade and economic information exchange between the two countries and suggested frequent exchange of trade delegations to improve situation.
To a question, he said that Pakistan was facing energy crisis and offered all kind of support from Iran to overcome the problem.
He said that Iran can offer 500 Megawatt of electricity and another 100 Mega Watt for Gwadar.
He said that the two countries can also work together in transport sector for access to Central Asia and promote economic activities in the region.
He said that Pakistan and Iran share around 1000 kilometre long border and importing products from Pakistan would cost less compared to other far flung countries.
He suggested that single country exhibitions should be held in both the countries while chambers of commerce should exchange delegations and sign MoUs for more trade. He promised support from Iran in this connection.
To a question about Pak-Iran gas pipeline, he said that the agreement still exist and Iran has laid over 1000 kilometre line as per the agreement, however, laying of 700 kilometre line on Pakistan side was still awaited.
Muhammad Hussain Bani Asadi said that matter pertaining to kidnapping of Iranian border guards was painful. He said that terrorists are no body’s friends adding that they are as much enemies of Pakistan as of Iran.
To a question, he said that matters pertaining to letters of credit (LCs) through banks and payment to Iran in Pakistani currency needed to be addressed. However, he added, Iran was ready to deal in Pakistani currency and response from Pakistan was awaited.
He promised issuance of visa to traders recommended by MCCI.
Earlier, MCCI president Khawaja Usman and vice president Iftikhar Ali Shah urged Iran to allow local currency in mutual trade as was the case with trade between India and Iran. They also demanded issuance of visas to trade delegations on priority, simplifying visa process, visits of Iranian experts and traders to MCCI and sought support of Irani banking system for Pakistani business community. 

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