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December 9, 2014

Pakistan, Iran to discuss four agreements including IP gas project

National

December 9, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The two-day Pakistan-Iran Joint Economic Commission commenced here on Monday with the main focus on the issue of banking problems with Iran due to the sanctions imposed by the US and UN.
They also discussed the need to expedite the implementation of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, upgrading the Quetta-Taftan railway track and improvement of the Noshki-Dalbandin section of N-40 Highway will also be held.
On the import of energy from Iran, both sides will discuss the import of 74MW power from that country for the Makran Division, Balochistan, import of 100MW to Gwadar, and import of 1,000MW electricity for Balochistan and the national grid. The meeting will conclude today (Tuesday).
Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar and Iranian Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance Dr Ali Taieb Nia chaired the inaugural session.Before the formal inauguration of the session, both the ministers had a meeting with their respective delegations and resolved to take economic relations a step further, particularly focusing on trade promotion.
In his formal inaugural speech, Ishaq Dar said: “The top leadership of both the countries is serious in taking the relationship to a new level; we have endeavoured to materialise what our leadership feels. We will not only try to expand the existing trade, economic and bilateral ties in other areas but also make efforts to stabilise them.”
Regarding the sanctions against Iran, Dar said: “We support Iran on the international fora and argue with the world community to open trade with it on humanitarian goods. “At least export of food items to the friendly country should be on till the sanctions are relaxed,” the minister added.
The Iranian minister reciprocated the feelings and said he was pleased to be in Pakistan to lead his side to the 19th JEC. He once again reiterated expansion in the volume of trade between the countries in his address.
He also expressed the resolve to cooperate with Pakistan in the areas of energy import, transport and communication, mining, agriculture, health and banking sector development, through a comprehensive framework agreement.
The technical session that started soon after the adoption of agenda in the presence of both the ministers is set to take up the main items for discussion, including the review of bilateral trade and proposals for its enhancement, review of tariff and non-tariff barriers hampering the bilateral trade, opening of bank branches, revitalisation of joint business council, visa facilitation for businessmen of Pakistan and lifting of ban on the import of fruits from Pakistan.
The JEC shall also consider the issue of banking problems with Iran due to the sanctions imposed by the US and UN, etc. Discussion will be held on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project (to expedite its implementation), upgrading of the Quetta-Taftan railway track and improvement of the Noshki-Dalbandin section of N-40 Highway.
Discussion will also be held on pending MOUs. The two sides agreed to sign four out of 12 MOUs under consideration.Both the sides have decided that a press briefing will be arranged today (Tuesday) after the conclusion of the 19th JEC to announce the decisions taken in the meeting.