Iran expresses Interest to be part of CPEC. Iran expressed interest on Saturday in participating in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) process, as Chinese-funded projects worth $60 billion entered the next step of industrial and agricultural cooperation.
Iran’s Commercial Attache to Pakistan Morad Nemati Zargaran said CPEC is vital and gives Pakistan and Iran huge opportunities.
“Iran wants to be part of this project that would surely ensure prosperity throughout the region,” Zargaran said during a meeting with businessmen.
He was a popular visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) by an Iranian delegation.
CPEC system initiated infrastructure projects in Pakistan five years ago–power generation and road networks–linking its western province with Arab seas as part of the Belt and Road initiative.
Iranian envoy said the two countries ‘ business communities have to meet more regularly and strengthen their relations, in addition to hosting country-specific exhibitions that would certainly improve bilateral trade and investment.
Zargaran assured the business community of his full support and cooperation in order to further boost trade and to explore new forms of international cooperation together.
The attaché said steps need to be taken to overcome the obstacles that obstruct smooth trade between the two countries. There is a need to bring down high customs duties to promote legal trade and deter smuggling, he said.
“The formal banking channel between the two countries must be activated which has been widely demanded by the two countries ‘ business communities for quite some time now.”
Vice President KCCI Shahid Ismail said that bilateral trade remains low, and those collective efforts should be made by Pakistan and Iran to explore new avenues.
“To promote bilateral trade has always been the struggle of KCCI, and the chamber has a very positive approach to improving trade ties, especially with neighboring countries,” Ismail said.
KCCI official said bilateral trade is much less than potential as Pakistan’s exports to Iran stood at just $330.2 million in 2018, while imports stood at about $1.247bn.
Ismail said talks between Iran and Pakistan on a free trade agreement (FTA) are underway. All countries expressed their willingness to upgrade the preferential trade agreement to FTA that already exchanged initial drafts.
The State Bank of Pakistan also exchanged a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) for signing a banking payment arrangement with Markazi Jomhouri of Iranian Bank.
Both countries have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding, through which channels would be opened for trade transactions in both countries ‘ central banks that would reduce the use of dollar account for letters of credit clearance.
Ismail hoped that the much-needed proper banking channel between Pakistan and Iran would soon become a reality, “which would certainly boost existing trade ties.”
Vice President of KCCI stressed the need to address infrastructural constraints to enhance bilateral trade through the Quetta-Taftan land route.
“Regular service of ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization) container train would give an impetus to both countries ‘ cargo and transit facilities.” News report on Iran expresses Interest to be part of CPEC.