QUETTA: Pakistan and Iran have signed 39 memorandums of understanding to enhance bilateral trade, improve economic relations and ensure cooperation in various fields such as transportation, tourism, fisheries, mines and minerals.

The MoUs were signed at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the joint border trade committee on Sunday night. The meeting discussed various issues relating to the implementation of agreements signed between the two countries in 2010 and 2006 for increasing trade volume and providing facilities for import and export at the Pak-Iran borders.

Both sides agreed that the Zahidan Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture and Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry will make joint investment for provision of the required infrastructures in customs, trade, transportation and airline sectors.

It was agreed that the authorities concerned would be approached to increase the number of items included in the Preferential Trade Agreement signed between Pakistan and Iran and reduce tariff.

It was decided that both countries would take measures to increase bilateral trade to $5 billion annually and also try to achieve balance of trade.

Both sides agree on opening of more joint border markets

Both sides agreed that an additional border crossing point shall be opened at Kohak-Panjgur in order to increase bilateral trade.

It was also agreed that recommendations should be sent to higher authorities for establishment of new joint border markets at Mir Javeh-Taftan (first priority), Jalgh-Mashkel (second priority) and Shamsar (third priority) after approval by the relevant authorities and identification of exact locations by a joint technical team.

The two sides agreed that relevant ministries and authorities would be approached to sign a free trade agreement between Iran and Pakistan. It was agreed that efforts shall be made by both sides to reduce import tariff on fresh fruits through negotiations with the relevant authorities.

Both sides agreed to set up maritime clearance stations at Pasabandar in Iran and Jiwani in Pakistan for bilateral trade.

The Iranian side agreed to declare Gabd-Ramdan as designated TIR border at the earliest for conducting international transit trade from Pakistan towards Turkiye, Azerbaijan, Russia and other regional countries via Iranian territory. They proposed to declare Pishin/Mand as designated TIR station.

Both sides agreed that vehicles loaded with cargo shall be allowed without carnet/visa up to customs area at Mir Javeh and Mir Javeh Special Economic Zone on Iranian side, while on the principle of reciprocity, the same facility is being extended to Iranian cargo vehicles up to NLC terminal and railway station at Taftan.

Iranian authorities agreed to provide shelters to Pakistani rice at Zahidan customs. They also proposed that LPG in cylinders may be allowed to be imported via all land border stations from Iran to Pakistan.

The meeting was informed that a ferry service with Iran is being finalised and the same will be shared with the Iranian side after completion of codal formalities.

The Pakistani side said the number of railway wagons for freight transportation would be increased up to 500 on the completion of a bridge at Hirak by the end of June 2023, considering the increased demand of the traders.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2023

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