Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIM) President Yahya Al Eshagh has offered financial and technical assistance to Pakistan in overcoming energy shortages and for early completion of Pak-Iran gas pipeline.Yahya Al Eshagh, who was heading a 24-member strong Iranian business delegation, was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday. Iranian Consul General in Lahore Muhammad Hussain Bani Assadi also accompanied the Iranian delegation.The TCCIM President said that Iran is well aware of energy shortage in Pakistan and is very much willing to provide every kind of help for production of electricity or to export electricity.
He said that if there are financial issues in this regard, the Iranian government is ready to finance these projects.He said that it is very unfortunate that both the countries have a very huge potential in various sectors but are not availing these opportunities. He said that last year Iranian trade turnover with the world was $200 billion out of which exports were $120 billion while imports were $80 billion and these figures are enough to make the point that Pakistan can do a lot of business with their Iranian counterparts.
Yahya Al Eshagh said oil & gas, mining, food, telecommunication, textile, leather, rice, wheat and meat are the sectors where Pakistani businessmen can join hands with their Iranian counterparts for the benefit of the two countries.The TCCIM President said that money transfer and other related banking issues are hitting the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran. He said that talks to resolve these issues are well on way and hopefully these issues would be resolved soon. He said that Iran had already resolved banking and money transfer issues with China, Korea, Japan and India.LCCI President Irfan Qaiser said that constant exchange of business delegations between Pakistan and Iran is one of the key indicators that both the nations seriously want to seize the decreasing trend occurring in mutual trade from the last three years.
“Our bilateral trade from the last some years was constantly maintaining the level of over one billion dollars. Like from 2008 to 2010, it stood around US$ 1.16 billion, US$ 1.21 billion and US$ 1.07 billion respectively. But surprisingly in year 2011, the two way trade fell to USD 457 million which is less than half of the preceding year. We seriously need to identify the reasons and address them on priority.”He said that despite the fact that Pakistan and Iran have long lasting economic relations but the current level of trade does not match to the actual potential, the two countries have.Meanwhile, a 24-member delegation of Tehran Chambers of Commerce Industries, Mines and Agriculture, led by Yahya Al Eshagh visited Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT). The Iranian delegates represent varied sectors including agriculture, food, light engineering textile manufacturing, energy, automobiles, leather, petrochemicals and general traders. Representatives from export promotion bank of Iran and United Bank of Iran and Iranian Consul General Hussain Bani Asadi, were also present in the meeting.
He said there exists a lot of potential to take it to over US$ 2 billion mark if direct trade is started instead of trading via third destination. There is huge smuggling of goods including chemicals, plastic moulding compounds and other products happening at Quetta border. It is causing losses amounting to billions of rupees in the shape of customs duty and other taxes. So, we suggest that smuggling must be checked in order to promote the legal and direct trade.Similarly, he said, both the countries need to identify new areas of economic cooperation so that more and more investment opportunities may be explored. For example, dairy and livestock sector is growing well in Pakistan and there is still a tremendous potential of growth which can be exploited through joint ventures between Pakistani and Iranian businessmen.
Other important sectors are fresh fruit juices and beverages which promise excellent return on investments.The LCCI President urged the delegation to motivate the Iranian investors to consider these sectors for the mutual benefits of both the countries.
Courtesy The Nation News