Iran and Pakistan have agreed on a five-year strategic plan to increase the volume of their bilateral trade to $4 billion by 2016 as ministers wrap up a joint trade meeting in Islamabad.
At the conclusion of the sixth meeting of Pak-Iran Joint Trade Commission in Islamabad on Thursday, Iranian Commerce Minister
Mehdi Ghanzafari and his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Amin Fahim signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Iran Trade Promotion Organization, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Under the deal, the two countries aim to triple the level of bilateral trade from an existing $1billion to $4 billion by 2016.
The two sides agreed on the need to formulate the five-year road map in order to boost bilateral trade, and to form a Joint Working Group comprising public and private sector representatives from both countries.
According to the Iranian representatives at the meetings, Tehran will host the first meeting of the Joint Working Group within four months.
Trade volume between the two nations jumped from $141 million in 2000 to $1 billion last year. Experts say due to tariff and non-tariff barriers the balance of trade is tilting towards Iran. But efforts are underway to encourage more support and involvement by the private sector to further boost trade ties.
Meanwhile, Ghanzafari set great store by multiple plans to resolve overhanging issues such as banking facilities, insurance, communication, customs, and removal of non-tariff barriers as part of efforts to facilitate the bilateral trade cooperation.
During the negotiations, Pakistani officials, for their parts, called on Iranian oil and gas companies to invest in Pakistan's energy sector to help overcome the energy crisis facing the country.