LAHORE -Iranian Governor for Sistan and Baluchistan Ali Osat Hashmi Thursday said that external pressures are hitting Pakistan-Iran bilateral trade therefore the private sector should come forward and play its role.

The Governor was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI Acting President Kashif Anwar presented the Address of welcome while Director General South Asia of Iranian Foreign Ministry Syed Nabizadeh, Iranian Consul General Mohammad Hossain Bani Asadi, LCCI former President Mohsin Raza Bukhari, Executive Committee Members Mian Zahid Javaid Ahmad, Talha Tayyab Butt and Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam also spoke on the occasion

Mr Ali Osat Hashmi urged the Pakistan government to take decision on Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline in greater national interests without considering any foreign pressure as Iran had already completed the pipeline on its side of border.

The Governor said that Pakistan Turkey and China could constitute an economic block to cater to the world needs as these three countries have a huge potential.

Ali Osat Hashmi said that he had meetings with Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif and they had shown their strong will to take all possible measures for the promotion of bilateral trade.

He said that he had also requested the Pakistan Prime Minister to send representatives of State Bank of Pakistan for having meeting with Iranian Banking channels so that the issue of currency transaction between the two countries could be resolved. 

The Governor said that Iran could help Pakistan overcome electricity shortage in just one and half years period if a collaboration to this regard is sought. He also called for strengthening of rail linkages between the two countries.

Ali Osat Hashmi said that the private sector in Pakistan should play in instrumental role for the promotion of bilateral trade as both the sides have a huge business potential. He invited Pakistan businessmen to visit Sistan-Baluchistan to have first hand knowledge about the available opportunities.

He said that Pakistani and Iranian businessmen could join hands in meat, fruits, engineering and textile sectors to strengthen each other’s economy. He said that there are more than 70 Pakistani items that have lower import duties in Iran in comparison to the other countries therefore Pakistani businessmen should export these items.

The Governor said that the existing volume of two way trade between Pakistan and Iran were far behind their actual potentials therefore a strategy should be evolved to expedite business.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI Acting President Kashif Anwar said that bilateral trade between the two countries was following negative trend which should be turned around.

 He said that there existed a lot of potential to take it to over $ 2billion mark if smuggling is curtailed and direct trade is increased

He said a delegation of LCCI will visit Iran in June of this year. Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan favours bilateral trade in local currencies as China and Russia had already started trade in their local currencies while barter trade was another viable option.  

He said that there were some transportation-related issues between the two countries therefore the two governments should identify them for their early resolution.

He said that Pakistan was exporting mangoes, rice, kinnows, potatoes and meat to Iran while imports from Iran includes petro chemicals, plastic products, bitumen, paraffin, iron scrap and many other chemicals and machinery related products.

The LCCI Acting President also raised the issue of custom duties with the Governor and sought his help to bring them down in the larger interest of the two countries.