ISLAMABAD: Iranian Ambassador, Mehdi Honardoost said on Thursday that Iran could supply cheapest
gas and electricity to Pakistan while Pakistan was working with Iran on some projects to import electricity.
“Iran is ready to give more facilities to Pakistan for materialization of gas pipeline project,” he made these remarks during an interaction with business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here.
The Ambassador also urged the Pakistani private sector to step up efforts for promoting trade with Iran as both neighbors have immense potential to enhance two-way trade in many areas.
He said Iran-Afghanistan bilateral trade was over $ 2 billion, but Pak-Iran bilateral trade of around $ 270 million was very low despite huge potential and businessmen of both countries should become active to fully realize the available untapped trade potential.
He said, after the lifting of sanctions, Iran was poised to undertake many infrastructure development projects while lot of European companies were visiting his country to explore business opportunities.
However, he said time was ripe for Pakistani investors to focus on mega projects in Iran otherwise, others would grab such opportunities.
He said Iran has 15 neighbors and it preferred to strengthen trade and economic relations with Pakistan as both countries are one nation.
He said ICCI should take a delegation to Iran to explore new avenues of cooperation as private sectors of both countries have to take the lead to promote bilateral trade.
He assured that his Embassy would extend all possible cooperation to ICCI delegation for making its visit
In his welcome address, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Atif Ikram Sheikh said that Pakistani businessmen were interested to promote trade with Iran, however, lack of direct flights between Islamabad and Tehran, lack of Pakistani banks branches in Iran and vice versa, high import tariffs of Iran on Pakistani exports, Iran’s import permit system and non-tariff barriers etc. were the major hurdles in promoting bilateral trade.
He said if these issues were resolved, bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran could go up to $5 billion in the next few years.
He said that Pak-Iran preferential trade agreement should be activated and both countries should facilitate businessmen in holding single country exhibitions.
He said both countries have the potential to compliment economies of each other in many areas including tourism and they should encourage holding of regular meetings of Joint Border Trade and Joint Trade Committees.
He said both governments should focus on opening of additional crossing points on Pak-Iran border that would help in improving bilateral trade.
He assured that ICCI would consider taking a trade delegation to Iran to find out business matchmaking.