Iran-Pakistan joint road transport committee convenes
The sixth official meeting of Iran-Pakistan joint committee on road transportation was held October 11-12 in Zahedan, southeast Iran.
The Mehr News Agency quoted the director of Transportation and Terminals Department of Sistan-Baluchestan province stating that the objective of this meeting is to solve the extant problems related to the transport of goods and passengers between the two countries.
Alireza Mojarrad added tariffs received from the Iranian fleet should be reduced, the Quetta-Zahedan-Mashhad road must be improved, the problems of drivers and the unsuitable condition of roads in Pakistan must be resolved.
He stated that in this meeting the two sides agreed to reduce the tolls and remove carnet de passage in border transactions.
Iran-Pakistan cooperation on transportation issues expanded greatly in August 2009, when the two agreed to inaugurate an international freight rail line from Islamabad to Istanbul via Tehran.
The line is a "pilot project" of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), a Central Asian trade bloc.
According to Director of Pakistan Railways Shafiqullah Khan, Islamabad and Tehran are seeking outside credit to resolve differences in rail gauge in order to regularize rail service between the two.
In recent years, Pakistan and Iran have deepened their economic partnership.
In 2008, Iran and Pakistan met at the seventeenth session of their Joint Economic Commission, where Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki claimed that Iran and Pakistan have the potential to increase their already-significant economic cooperation "far beyond the present volume of trade between them which is US$500 million annually."
At the meeting, both governments' representatives expressed their hope to increase their bilateral trade to $1 billion in the near future.
This goal was achieved in 2008-2009, when trade stood at over $1.2 billion.
According to an August 2009 statement by the Embassy of Pakistan in Tehran, Pakistani exports to the Islamic Republic increased by 86 percent in that time period.
In August 2009, Islamabad and Tehran agreed to expand their previous agreements, further reducing tariffs on certain goods.