SIALKOT - Iranian Ambassador in Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost has stressed a need for making an all-out effort to strengthen bilateral trade relations.

He was addressing a meeting of the Sialkot exporters held at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) after visiting several leading industrial units in Sialkot. The Iranian ambassador assured the business community that the Iranian trade markets in its border areas along Pakistan would soon be activated. He added that all the hurdles, obstacles and trade barriers would be removed from the way of the promotion of the bilateral trade ties.

Mr Mehdi also assured the easy access of the Sialkot exporters to the international trade markets of Iran and in its neighbouring countries through Iran, saying that all the borders of Iran were open for Pakistani trade.

He said that Iran was much keen to develop its bilateral trade with Pakistan besides promoting the business-to-business contacts between Pakistani and Iranian businessmen. He said that both Pakistan and Iran are all weather friends due to which Iran was also making efforts to increase the mutual trade volume with Pakistan. He said that easy access of Pakistani products would be ensured to the international trade markets of Iran. He said there was a visible day by day betterment between the trade, culture and diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Iran.

He said that there was 35 percent increase in the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran during the last year. He added that there was a huge potential of bilateral and mutual trade promotion.

He said that Sialkot exporters should come forward, explore and capture the international trade markets of Iran and other neighbouring countries through Iran. He said that the Sialkot exporters could explore and capture the international trade markets of Iran by exporting their world class diversified export products.

He added that Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline project was a great and key project to bring economic revolution in the region. He said that Iran would soon activate its border markets with the international border of Pakistan to encourage the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran. He said that the Sialkot exporters should focus their attention on the international trade markets of Iran and enjoy all the trade benefits at all the Iranian Free Trade Zones.

Mr Mehdi said that there were bright opportunities of establishing joint ventures in different trade fields. He further said that several Iranian companies were showing keen interest in establishing joint ventures with the businessmen at Sialkot.

"All the Iranian doors are open for you to promote the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran," he stated.

He said that the promotion of business and trade was the top priority of Iran and for the goal Iran was making efforts to promote contacts between the businessmen of Sialkot and Tehran.

He said that the banking transactions in Iran were being made much easy for Pakistani business community to encourage the maximum bilateral trade. He said direct air links would soon be restored between Pakistan and Iran as the direct passenger flights between Iran and Pakistan would be started within next couple of days.

Presenting his welcome address, SCCI President Zahid Latif Malik said that both Iran and Pakistan are brotherly Islamic countries sharing religious, cultural and socio-political heritage, as we have common views on most of the global issues.

He said that both the countries are eager to expand bilateral cooperation in diverse fields to benefit from each other's expertise to make progress. "We understand that both the countries have agreed to set up a mechanism to ensure implementation of existing agreements, aimed at substantial increase of two-way trade. So far, Pakistan and Iran have not been able to build their relationship on an economic footing as indicated by discouraging trade figures. "I may stress here for need to take immediate and drastic steps to increase bilateral trade," the SCCI President. The SCCI president suggested the regular exchange of the mutual trade delegations besides encouraging holding the single country trade exhibitions.

He said both Pakistan and Iran should facilitate and encourage frequent exchanges of trade delegations in order to create effective linkages between the business communities of both the countries.

Later, the Iranian ambassador visited several industrial units in Sialkot. He witnessed the production processes of surgical instruments and sports goods. He also witnessed the craftsmanship of Sialkot-based artisans. He highly hailed the production of Sialkot-made export products, and said that the Sialkot exporters have great potential to explore and capture the international trade markets of Iran.