Pakistan hopes to sign FTA with Iran by next year’s end




Minister of Commerce Khurram Dastgir has said that he would pay a two-day visit to Iran from December 28 to 29 and discuss Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and resumption of banking channels between the two brotherly countries.

In an exclusive interview with Radio Tehran, the minister hoped that the two countries would be able to sign FTA by the end of 2017 which was aimed to expand the bilateral trade.

He said that Iran visit was a follow up on the valuable visit by Iran President Hassan Rouhani to Pakistan earlier this year.

“We are very much looking forward to progress on the five year economic engagement plan that was signed during that visit,” he said.

Dastgir said that there has already been good progress on one part of the plan and offer by Pakistan to have Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been accepted by Iran. “We have already exchanged drafts of the agreement”, he added.

The minister said that Iran and Pakistan have already held their first negotiations on FTA and there is great positivity on both sides to conclude it ideally by the end of 2017.

Dastgir Khan ensured that any outstanding issues in the signing of FTA would be resolved quickly.

He added that during his visit to Iran, he would also be discussing on the prospects of broader energy ties with Iran, particularly in reference to the electricity that Pakistan was buying from Iran for the Gwadar Port.

He said the current status of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline would also be on the agenda of his upcoming visit to Tehran.

Dastgir Khan also reiterated that Iran and Pakistan were very near to resolve the banking problem between the two countries. The minister noted that there was already lot of trade that both sides were not capturing in statistics so by bringing down tariffs, ‘we want to encourage people to do formal trade.’