Pakistan and Iran have decided to increase their bilateral trade volume to $5 billion in the next five years.

The decision was made at a high-level meeting between Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and Iran’s Minister for Industry, Mining and Trade, Syed Reza Fatimi Amin in Tehran before the meeting of the 9th Joint Trade Committee (JTC).

The countries took the first step towards honouring this decision by signing a Pak-Iran Barter Trade agreement in the closing session of the 9th JTC. Fida Hussain Dashti, President of Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industries (QCCI) and Abdul Hakim Regi, President of Zahedan Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed the agreement.

Abdul Razak Dawood and his Iranian counterpart also signed the barter trade agreement. The 9th Joint Trade Committee (JTC) was held on November 6-7 in Tehran.

Earlier last Friday, Dawood had left for Iran on a two-day visit to negotiate bilateral trade and investment with the Iranian government. Pakistan and Iran have agreed to start initial talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the neighboring countries along with other important issues for increasing bilateral trade and investment opportunities.

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Dawood said that his arrival in Iran was a matter of pride. “We want better trade relations with our brotherly Islamic country Iran. The ninth meeting of the Joint Trade Committee will be a milestone in this regard,” he said. The commerce adviser said it was important to make Pakistan’s trade and investment relations more broad-based.

Iranian Minister Reza Fatimi and Dawood had co-chaired the meeting to discuss bilateral trade issues and review the progress made after the 8th JTC meeting held in Islamabad in 2019.

They discussed matters relating to trade and investment between the two countries and resolved to translate the decisions of the 9th JTC into positive and tangible outcomes.

Both neighbouring countries discussed barter trade, cooperation in transportation, a Free Trade Agreement, construction of border markets and other issues affecting bilateral trade. The Iranian minister also invited Pakistani companies to invest in Iran.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on exhibition cooperation has also been signed between the two countries. Officials from the Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan Customs, Government of Balochistan and President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry were accompanying the Adviser for the meeting.

President QCCI Fida Hussain Dashti said that the QCCI has been striving from day one to promote strong business relations with neighbouring countries and our government should extend all possible cooperation in this regard.

He said that only with the promotion of industry and trade can the economy of the country and the province be improved and the problem of unemployment can be overcome.