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QUETTA: The Consul General of Iran in Quetta, Agha Mohammad Rafai, said on Thursday that efforts were under way to enhance trade volume between Iran and Pakistan up to $5 billion annually.

Speaking to businessmen and traders at the office of the Pak-Iran Joint Chambers of Commerce here on Thursday, he said that for the transaction of money, work was in progress for setting up a joint banking system to boost trade activities between the two brotherly countries.

PIJCC President Haji Wali Muhammad, President of Quetta Small Traders and Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malik Nadeem Ahmed Kasi, businessmen Nasim-ur-Rehman Mullahkhel, Haji Jumma Khan, Rafu Gul and a large number of other traders were present on the occasion.

The Iranian Consul General said that in the first phase, branches of a joint banking system would be set up in Tehran and Karachi to help the businessmen of the two countries.

“All hurdles in getting visas would be removed on a priority basis,” Mr Rafai pledged.

He said that Pakistan and Iran had a 900-km-long border and the two countries wanted to keep the entire border area completely peaceful and both were taking joint steps for restoring peace and increasing trade volume between the two countries.

“Establishing a joint economic committee of the two countries and appointing Safron Minister General retired Abdul Qadir Baloch was proof of joint efforts to boost trade between the two countries,” he said.

The Iranian envoy said that the two countries planned to increase the trade volume up to $5 billion in the next five years.

“It is my desire to take steps to provide maximum facilities to the business communities of the two countries and especially resolve problems of traders of border areas,” Mr Rafai said.

He said that two more border points would be opened with Pakistan as had been decided in the last joint border commission meeting held in Chahbahar and in this connection the custom and other officials concerned of Pakistan and Iran were working and all arrangements would soon be completed in this regard.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2017