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Dastgir’s visit to Iran called off

ISLAMABAD: The two-day visit by Commerce Min­ister Khurram Dastgir Khan to Iran, which was scheduled to start from Wednesday, has been called off, a spokesman for the Mini­stry of Commerce told Dawn on Tuesday.

He declined to disclose the reason. The visit aimed to pave way for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the end of 2017.

According to information shared Pakistan has already forwarded the FTA draft to Tehran.

Speaking to Radio Tehran earlier, the minister mentioned the five-year economic engagement plan that was signed during the visit of President Hassan Rouhani to Pakistan a few months ago.

Currently, the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran is limited to $270 million annually. The five-year plan aims to boost this figure to $5 billion.

The minister was expected to discuss broader energy ties with Iran, particularly the issue of electricity import for the Gwadar port.

The current status of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline was also on the agenda of his visit.

Among key impediments to the promotion of trade and commerce between the two neighbouring countries are certification standards. Pak­is­tan wants Iran to accept the certification by the Pakistani Quality Control Authority (PQCA).

Iran and Pakistan are also negotiating to resolve the ban­king and customs-related issues, according to the minister.

Meanwhile, Iranian Amb­a­ss­ador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost in a recent discussion with the media said that Iran’s trade with Afghan­istan is five times higher than that with Pakistan although his country has inked a preferential trade agreement with Pakistan.

courtesy : dawn news



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