KARACHI: Pakistan and Iran will resume banking channels from next month which pave way for official trade between the two countries, ZubairTufail, President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said on Tuesday.
At a press conference, he said that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had assured the business community of signing the final draft agreement to resume the banking channel between the two countries would be signed by this month end. “Hopefully first letter of credit (LC) for Iran trade will be issued in the first week of April 2017,” he added.
Tufail said that by signing of this agreement the trade volume between the two countries would reach $3 billion in next two years. He said that prior to sanctions imposed on Iran about six years back the trade volume between Pakistan and Iran was $1.5 billion. But after the sanctions the bilateral trade reduced to meager $261 million.
“In the first year or 2017/2018 the trade volume of the two countries will reach at the level of six years back,” he added. He said that the agreement signing was scheduled on March 17, 2017 but due to Nowruz Holidays in Iran, the officials of Iranian central bank were now scheduled to reach March 20, 2017.
S M Muneer, chief executive, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), said that Iran would be the major market for Pakistan. He said that trade with Iran had already started. He said that in order to promote trade with Iran, the TDAP would facilitate Iran single country exhibition to be held in Lahore soon.
He pointed out the falling exports was due to fall in international prices.Mahmood Maulvi, chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), said that around 30,000 tons of Basmati Rice would be exported soon after the signing by the two central banks.
He said that contracts for another 10,000 tons of rice to be signed next month. He said that Iran was facing shortage of rice and after lifting of sanctions, Iran prefers Pakistani rice. He said that during sanctions period India had captured Iranian markets.