A delegation of Iranian entrepreneurs of West Azerbaijan Province of Iran led by Behnam Tajodinni, Head of the Agriculture Commission of the Urmia Chamber of Commerce & Industry visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry and showed keen interest to develop strong trade relations with Pakistan in agriculture products.
Speaking at the occasion, Behnam Tajodinni said that West Azerbaijan was the third largest province of Iran with one of the highest producers of agricultural commodities. He said the province was producing annually 6 million ton fruits & vegetables, 1.2-million-ton apple, 380,000 ton grapes and 280,000 ton apricots with 326 cold storage facilities with storage capacity of 1 million tons. He said the province was also on top in producing honey and was a hub of import and export activities in Iran. He said the province has great potential to promote cooperation in agriculture sector with Pakistan. He stressed that the agriculture sector businessmen of both countries should develop close cooperation to promote bilateral trade of agro products between Iran and Pakistan.
Behnam Tajodinni said that about 32 Iranian trucks loaded with agriculture products were stuck up on Pakistani border in Baluchistan for the last 10 days and added that Pakistan has not informed them why the trucks were stopped. He said such measures were discouraging efforts to improve bilateral trade between the two countries. He said both countries should revise high tariffs on agriculture products to facilitate the entrepreneurs in further improving bilateral trade. He also invited ICCI delegation to visit Urmia Chamber of Commerce & Industry and explore new avenues of mutual cooperation with Iranian counterparts.
Speaking at the occasion, Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Pakistan and Iran enjoyed good relations, but given the size of the economies of both countries, their bilateral trade was far below the actual potential. He stressed that both countries should encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations and focus on organizing single country exhibitions on reciprocal basis to explore new areas of mutual collaboration. He said despite signing a preferential trade agreement with Pakistan, Iran was maintaining high tariffs on many Pakistani products including textiles, clothing, leather goods, footwear, fruits & vegetables and rice which was a major hurdle in promoting trade with Iran. He stressed that Urmia Chamber of Commerce & Industry should take up this issue with Iranian authorities to revise high tariffs.
Muhammad Naveed, Senior Vice President ICCI said that Pakistan and Iran should establish border markets that would greatly help in improving bilateral trade and curb illegal trade as well.