KARACHI: Iran will buy a large quantity of wheat from Pakistani for re-export to Central Asian countries after value addition.
This was stated by the Deputy Commerce Minister of Iran, Abbas Qobadi while talking to President and members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce at a hurriedly convened meeting here Wednesday.
Iranian Consul General Abbas Ali Abdollahi, Commercial Counsellor Syed Hasan Alavi, chairman Businessmen Group and former president KCCI Siraj Kassem Teli were also present on the occasion.
He said that the decision to import wheat from Pakistan has been made at the meeting between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad this week.
“I have come here to meet wheat exporters in private sector and buy large quantity of wheat from Pakistan. This will serve as the starting point for the beginning of large scale bilateral trade between Iran and Pakistan”, he added.
Qobadi said this wheat will be imported under private sector set up and payment will be settled either in local currency, through barter trade or using banking channels between the two countries.
He said Iranian bank branches will be opened in Pakistan while Pakistani banks will establish their branches in Iran for boosting bilateral trade.
“We can also buy this wheat and supply electricity or petroleum products to Pakistan under barter trade”, he added.
Iranian Minister said that third option will be payment in local currencies instead of using the currencies of other countries.
He said that the wheat milling capacity in Iran about 25 million metric tons per annum and only half of the capacity is utilized. “We will use Pakistani wheat to make quality floor, biscuits and other product for re-export to Central Asian countries”, he added.
Responding to a suggestion, he said that other procedures including customs, quarantine and inspection of merchandise will be completed on urgent basis in the due course to facilitate bilateral trade through borders.
He pointed out that Iran has shifted its focus in trade from west to regional and Islamic countries. “Iran can import agriculture products including food items and fruits from Pakistan while it can export energy, petroleum products and other items to Pakistan”, he noted.
Qobadi said that sanctions could not affect Iranian international trade as its major trade partners in the world were European Union, Canada and USA.
He said that top leadership of Iran and Pakistan has decided to expand bilateral trade in a big way during Islamabad meeting. We want to have a large trade block between Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan, he opined.
In his welcome address KCCI president Mian Abrar Ahmed urged the Iranian minister to focus on regional trade and suggested to establish banking channels between Iran and Pakistan to boost bilateral trade between the two brotherly countries.
Siraj Kassem Teli suggested constituting a body consisting private sector of Pakistan and Iran to expand trade.