Karachi, March 02, 2016 (PPI-OT): United Business Group’s (UBG) secretary general and a former vice president of FPCCI, Zubair F. Tufail has urged the government to formulate a long-term policy to enhance bilateral trade with Iran. He said that Iran was a leading trading partner of Pakistan prior to imposition of sanctions by the United Nations Security Council.
Zubair said the government should announce a long-term integrated trade policy aimed at enhancing bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran. “We believe that a policy is required to get maximum benefits when sanctions against Iran have already been lifted,” he added.
He said that when the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had announced lifting of banking sanctions on Iran, allowing banks and financial institutions (FIs) to begin normal business/banking activities within the scope of a UN resolution, need of the hour is to strengthen banking channel between the two countries and a comprehensive policy should be announced to accrue benefits of lifting of sanctions against Iran.
Iran was a major importing country of rice, paper and other commodities and as such it’s a golden opportunity to recapture the market, he opined. He was of the view that Pakistan could capture Iranian market with some efforts and fetch between $4 and $5 billion through exports in the next few years.
Hailing the SBP’s announcement of lifting sanctions on banking transactions between Pakistan and Iran, Tufail said that the central bank’s timely decision will facilitate the businessmen, particularly exporters, to resume trade with Iran. He was optimistic that bilateral trade between the two countries will grow as previously banks were reluctant to establish Letter of Credits or issue E-form in the wake the sanctions.
“Being a neighbouring country, Pakistan can be a major beneficiary of lifting of UN sanctions on Iran as the country’s exporters may export cheap commodities to Iran through road and sea routes,” he added. He also urged the SBP to allow domestic banks to open their branches in Iran and, similarly, Iranian banks should set up their branches in Pakistan.
“In fact, restoration of banking channel is a major development for resuming trade with Iran,” Tufail remarked, requesting the government to simplify customs rules to facilitate importers and exporters. He also thanked Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, federal ministers – Ishaq Dar and Khurram Dastagir – and SBP Governor Ashraf Mehmood Wathra for taking timely decision for resuming banking channel with Iran.
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