The transmission infrastructure development can cost US $1.5 billion. The Iranian high-ups made this offer to a 26-member delegation from Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, sources told Business Recorder on Monday. The delegation held business to business meetings with Tehran, Shiraz and Mashhad Chambers of Commerce and Industry during its recent visit of Iran.
Sources further claimed that the President, Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani who is scheduled to visit Pakistan on March 25th is likely to offer electricity besides endorsing some of the recommendations compiled during the meetings in Iran. The delegation was also told that the Iranian leadership wants to enhance trade with Pakistan up to US $10 billion and his country's businessmen were gearing up to reach this target but demanded some steps too from Pakistan.
During the meetings, it emerged that Iran was reportedly in need of Pakistani textile products and Iranians expect Pakistan to quickly send its textile delegation of leading companies. It also came into notice that Iran is in need of textile products including t-shirts, denim jeans and home textiles. The Iranian businessmen want Pakistan to immediately send its textile delegation comprising the leading companies.
Besides, Iran has sufficient demand for meat that could be exported from Pakistan. However, Pakistani companies need to enhance their capacity of meat processing facilities to meet the demand. The talk of more flights between Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Tehran, Shiraz, Mashhad and Isfahan too came under discussion and resolved that business communities of both countries should help their airlines. The air links will also help increase trade in perishable items like fruits, vegetables and meat, the sources added.
The Iranians highlighted a number of steps needed to be done by the Pakistani government including completing gas pipeline project on priority basis. More steps were also discussed to enhance the trade including direct shipping between Iran and Pakistan, banking channels to overcome smuggling being faced by both countries. The meeting also stressed the need for improving rail link between Pakistan and Iran besides developing road between the two sides.
It is notable that three banks from Pakistan including the Bank of Punjab, Bank Alfalah and Meezan Bank are actively pursuing correspondent relationship with the Iranian authorities. It was also resolved that the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) already signed several years ago between the two countries needs to be activated.
Need was also stressed to develop special economic zones on Pakistan-Iran borders to enhance two way trade. The delegation recommended for sending a high level delegation of government officials and trade bodies, besides taking part in Iranian exhibitions to display products. The delegation also recommends setting up of a secretariat for Pak-Iran Joint Commission to implement decisions. During the visit, the delegation head, Almas Hyder offered scholarships on behalf of the Punjab government to Iranian students in engineering and medical disciplines as good gesture.