Pak-Iran trade hostage to failed trade diplomacy: PBIF

KARACHI: Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) on Friday said Pakistan and Iran can become important trading partner for which serious efforts are needed.

Gas import deal which was to bring a revolution in the Pakistan’s energy market is still under sanctions therefore the two countries should ink new energy deals, it said.

Bilateral trade which was once one billion dollars but now Pakistan’s exports have come down to 128 million dollars despite the agreement between both countries to boost trade to five billion dollars, said Mian Zahid Hussain, President PBIF, AKIA and First Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI.

He said that sliding exports reflects failure of trade diplomacy on the part of Pakistani authorities despite the fact that Pakistani rice, fruit, vegetable, sports goods and IT services are in great demand in neighbouring nation.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that government as well as private sector should initiate efforts to boost trade which include opening of banking channels which are currently under sanctions and improved transport infrastructure.

He said that government should also consider setting up coastal refinery and import some quantity of Iranian cement, tiles etc. for bordering areas.

Improved trade with Iran can also help bailout textile sector which is paying price for recession in China, cotton collapse and incompetency of semi-educated export managers, he said.

He noted that Tehran’s inclination to take part in economic corridor project will benefit bother countries while Iranian companies will invest heavily in Pakistan.

The veteran business leader lashed out at the authorities concerned who remain unaware of the opportunities as three international trade expos have been inaugurated in Tehran recently with over 250 international companies participating in the high profile events.

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