Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt, on Wednesday, lauded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for initiating serious efforts to boost trade with Iran terming them highly satisfactory. Pakistan and Iran can become an important trading partner for which serious efforts have been initiated while an FTA between both brotherly countries would be an achievement of the government, he said.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said that Pakistan should enhance electricity imports to 1000 megawatt while start importing petroleum products to diversify it as depending on a single source is not advisable. He said that pipeline project is still under sanctions therefore, every option should be explored to expedite it without which energy crisis will continue to harm the economy. Gas import deal which was to bring a revolution in the Pakistan’s energy market is still under sanctions, therefore, the two countries should consider inking new energy deals, he added.
The veteran business leader said that bilateral trade which was once one billion dollars but now Pakistan’s exports have come down to 128 million dollars despite the agreement between both countries to boost trade to five billion dollars. Pakistani beef, rice, fruit, vegetable, sports goods and IT services are in great demand in the neighbouring nation which needs a little push from authorities as well as the private sector.
Pakistan should not waste any time for opening of banking channels with Iran and improve transport infrastructure. Improved trade with Iran can also help bailout textile sector which is paying the price for the recession in China, cotton collapse and incompetency of semi-educated export managers, he said. He noted that Tehran’s inclination to take part in economic corridor project will benefit bother countries while Iranian companies will invest heavily in Pakistan.