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Business

January 20, 2016

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Pakistan to negotiate FTA with Iran

Pakistan to negotiate FTA with Iran

ISLAMABAD: Minster for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that in the wake of lifting ofsanctions on Iran Pakistan is interested to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with Iran.

Talking to newly appointed Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardost who called on him here Tuesday the minister saidthat draft of FTA template can be forwarded to the concernedauthorities in Iran as soon as they express their willingness.

He said that the lifting sanctions from Iran has providedPakistan with a historic opportunity to raise mutual trade andinvestment to new heights as the leaders of the two nationshad envisioned in their meeting in 2014. He was of the view that the next logical step after aPreferential Trade Agreement is an FTA and Pakistan couldn t find abetter time to initiate negotiation on new Trade Agreement thanright after the removal of sanctions from Iran.

New circumstances merits new agreements and enhancedcooperation for the mutual benefit of the two neighbors he added.

The minster said that the banking sectors of the two countrieswill establish active linkages within weeks to facilitate thetraders to channel their payments.

In the past few years lack of recognized and trustablepayment mechanism through banks proved to be the single largestfactor hindering bilateral trade he added.

Bilateral trade which was nearing 1 billion was reduceddrastically as a result of sanctions and the unwillingness of banksto finance trade he remarked.

The last hurdle in resuming smooth trade relations between thetwo countries has been taken away thus providing opportunity toimplement the projects which have been in limbo since last fewyears he added.

Pakistan he said wants more predictability in tariffs fromIran on agricultural produces and their products.

Iranian duties onagriculture fluctuate widely depending upon the time of harvestranging from on seasonal highs to off seasonal lows.

He said that two sides need to agree on Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary standards as this proves an unwanted barrier in bilateraltrade.

The conclusion of an FTA between Pakistan and Iran andinclusion of Iran back into the world trading system would bringmore predictability and clarity and the seasonal shifts in dutiesand trading pattern would give way to surer trading regime heobserved.

Khurram Dastgir said that Pakistan has plan to construct thethree border posts on the Iranian border on modern lines with twentyfirst century infrastructure in order to facilitate the land trade.

These posts will be linked through a single road which wouldbe further connected with the main arteries leading north he added.

The Iranian Ambassador showed his government s resolve toreactivate the trade relations after the removal of sanctionsespecially with the immediate neighbors.

He was of the view that the supply of Iranian energy canprove to be a turning point for Pakistan s economy.

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