Iran, Pakistan vow to expand trade ties

Islamabad, Dec 4, IRNA - Iran and Pakistan have agreed to enhance bilateral trade to achieve the annual target of US $ 5 billion through facilitation of business communities, scaling down of trade barriers and speedy progress on facilitating preferential trade.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry in a statement said the understanding came at the tenth round of Iran-Pakistan Political Consultations in Islamabad.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi led the Iranian side while Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua led the Pakistani delegation.

“Bilateral Political Consultation between Iran and Pakistan is one of the several important institutional mechanisms to regularly review and chart the way forward in various areas of cooperation,” the statement said.

It added during the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction at the continuing warmth in the bilateral relationship anchored in religious and socio-cultural affinities.

“In addition, a long ‘border of friendship’ between the two countries has provided a means for regular people-to-people contacts over the centuries. In recent years, both countries have also provided each other principled support on the issues of Kashmir and the JCPOA,” the statement noted.

It added Iran and Pakistan are close neighbors enjoying similarity of views on most regional and international issues.

It further said Bilateral Consultations provided the opportunity to review the progress made under various other institutional mechanisms concerning consular, economic, trade and border related issues between the two sides.
“In particular, measures to enhance bilateral trade to achieve the annual target of US $ 5 billion through facilitation of business communities, scaling down of trade barriers and speedy progress on facilitating preferential trade were discussed in detail,” it said.

The statement added both sides agreed to hold the 21st session of the Joint Economic Commission early next year. “Both side agreed on the need to further improve railway connectivity between the two countries,” it said.

It said ways and means were also discussed to facilitate the growing number of pilgrims traveling every year to Iran from Pakistan.

The statement went on to say Pakistan and Iran, as the major geographic neighbors of Afghanistan also have commonality of views and future approach to restore complete peace and stability in the country.

“Both the countries have been affected adversely due to the 40-year old conflict and instability in Afghanistan which has resulted in serious challenges including millions of Afghan refugees, the narcotics trade, illegal migration and the rise of new terrorist outfits like Daesh in the war ridden country,” it said.

It was noted that fully supporting an Afghan-owned Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process was the best way to overcome the serious security and politico-economic challenges faced by Pakistan and Iran. A coordinated approach in this regard was important to safeguard the core interests of both Pakistan and Iran in this situation.

The statement said during the meeting views were also exchanged on other important regional and international issues including the situation following the US unilateral withdrawal from JCPOA, the situation in Kashmir, and the conflict in the Middle East.

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