Federal Minister for Commerce, Syed Naveed Qamar Thursday said that Iran and Pakistan would give final shape to the proposed bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the coming six months.
After signing the FTA between the two countries, free trade would increase and the volume of bilateral trade would reach $4 billion, he hoped.
Syed Naveed Qamar stated this while talking to the media persons along with Iranian Minister for Roads and Urban Development Rostam Ghasemi after the 21st session of the Pak-Iran Joint Economic Commission (JEC) which was held here from August 16 to 18.
Iranian Minister for Roads and Urban Development, Rostam Ghasemi along with a delegation of 57 dignitaries participated in the 21st Session of Pak-Iran JEC.
Federal Commerce Minister, Syed Naveed Qamar said that in the FTA, both sides would negotiate to reduce tariffs and there would be an exchange of trade lists in different sectors of the two countries.
He said that an agreement would be signed for promoting transit trade in the next three months, through which free economic zones would be established in the two countries.
Naveed Qamar said that for the promotion of transit trade, it had been decided to establish six border markets, in which, the work on the establishment of three border markets had already been started and work would be started on the other three soon.
The initiative would promote free trade on both sides of the border and increase mutual trade, he said.
The minister said that it was time for final agreements and practical work for which both the countries had agreed.
He said that the national airlines of the two countries had expressed their willingness to promote cooperation.
The minister said that relations between the two countries were deep-rooted, adding
“We share the bonds of history, religion, geography, culture and traditions”
He said that Iran was the first country to recognise Pakistan as an independent state in 1947.
“We believe that the relations between the two governments and the people provide a platform for greater bilateral economic cooperation,” he said.
The minister said that the Pakistan-Iran Joint Economic Commission provided an institutional framework for a regular review of economic relations and the identification of new opportunities for mutual cooperation.
“Since its inception in 1984, we are now holding the 21st Session of the JEC, which is a clear indication of the endeavours of both the countries to sustain and foster our economic relations”, he added.
Syed Naveed Qamar said the government was also well aware of its future challenges, which encompassed knowledge economy, inclusive growth, institutional reforms, entrepreneurship led-growth and regional connectivity with state-of-the-art infrastructure.
He said that Pakistan was experiencing continued growth momentum for the last four years.
The minister said that trade and economic relations between the two countries were based on diverse areas such as energy, infrastructural cooperation, financial assistance and commercial exchanges.
He said that Pakistan placed Iran at a very high level of importance and appreciated its direction toward market-based reforms.
He said that Pakistan looked to the Iranian market and Iranian investors as it offered a very friendly trade and investment environment in the special economic and industrial zones under CPEC.
Moreover, the current trade volume did not commensurate with its true potential, he added.
The minister said it was a favourable sign that both sides were collaborating on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
“I request the two sides to implementation Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in letter and spirit, and remove Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers to boost trade volume between both countries,” he said.
He said that the five Years Strategic Trade Partnership Plan needed to be renewed for the next five years (2022-2027) and both sides were working in that regard in this 21st session of JEC.
Talking to media persons, the Iranian minister for roads and urban development said that the 21st JEC would play a very important role in the promotion of mutual trade between the two countries and there were fruitful discussions in many fields including energy and trade.
He said that the two sides had finalized the time frame and the promotion of transit trade was very important.
He pointed out that transport, trade and energy were very important for the economies of the two countries.