Iran, Pakistan agreed to increase bilateral trade to USD 5 billion

AhlulBayt News Agency - Iran and Pakistan have agreed to adopt necessary strategies and make use of their capacities to increase the volume of bilateral trade to USD 5 billion.

In a meeting between Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli and Pakistani Minister of Finance Mohammad Ishaq Dar in Islamabad on Saturday, the two sides said the 20th session of Iran-Pakistan joint economic committee will be held in Tehran within the next few months.

Rahmani Fazli and Ishaq Dar also agreed that Iranian and Pakistani tradesmen and economic activists would meet in Tehran on the sidelines of the 20th session of the two countries’ joint economic committee.

The Pakistani minister expressed hope that Tehran and Islamabad would speed up trade and economic cooperation following the lifting of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program and the removal of legal obstacles, particularly in the banking sector and currency exchange.

Rahmani Fazli was accompanying Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in his crucial visit to Pakistan over the past two days. Heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, including 60 Iranian businessmen, Rouhani paid his first landmark visit to Pakistan since the conclusion of the nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was clinched by Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in July 2015.

After Iran and the P5+1 group of countries -- the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia plus Germany -- started to implement the JCPOA on January 16, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the UN Security Council and the US were lifted. Iran has, in return, put some limitations on its nuclear activities.

Speaking at a business conference with Rouhani on Saturday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Islamabad and Tehran had signed an agreement to increase annual trade volume to USD 5 billion by 2021.

Trade between Pakistan and Iran fell to USD 432 million in 2010-11 from USD 1.32 billion in 2008-09, according to the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

In the presence of the Iranian president and Pakistani premier, the two countries’ officials signed six documents for cooperation in different fields of trade and commerce, insurance, culture, higher education, health and medicine on Friday.