ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Iran have reiterated their desire to enhance bilateral trade which would greatly benefit the two neighbouring countries.

This was discussed at a meeting between the visiting Managing Director of IFIC Hassan Abghari and Finance Minister Asad Umar.

The Minister informed the MD, IFIC, that Pakistan wanted great economic engagement with Iran and assured him of Pakistan’s support to facilitate bilateral trade. He said there was tremendous potential of improving economic cooperation and both countries were required to capitalize on the existing opportunities in the area of bilateral trade.

The Minister also apprised Mr. Abghari about the initiatives being taken by Pakistan for the benefit of the border community.

He said that the government has directed the relevant quarters to take measures for facilitation of the border trade which will be beneficial for both sides.

The meeting agreed to address the obstacles being faced by the two countries in the area of trade.

In other development, Finance Minister Asad Umar received a high-level delegation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) comprising of Mr. Shahid Mahmood, Executive Director, Mr. Werner E. Liepach, Director General (CWRD), Mr. Michael Barrow Director General (Private Sector Operations) and Ms. Xiaohong Yang, Country Director for a meeting here on Friday.

Finance Minister acknowledged the ADB’s support for development of Pakistan and discussed the priorities areas and new avenues for future interventions.  Finance Minister on the occasion said that the Government is keen to devise innovative financing model, develop capital markets and mobilize private sector investment in infrastructure & social sector. These initiatives will not only provide fiscal space to the government but will also be helpful to boost economic activities in the country. He also appreciated the proactive approach of Pakistan Resident Mission and suggested to further enhance the role and capacity of PRM.

Shahid Mahmood, Executive Director thanked the Finance Minister and reiterated ADB’s commitment to further strengthen and expand its partnership with Pakistan. Mr. Werner E. Liepach, Director General (CWRD) affirmed ADB’s readiness to scale up its lending to Pakistan including development policy credit and project financing. He said that ADB supports the Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) initiatives in Pakistan which play an important role in bridging the huge infrastructure investment gap.

In this regard, ADB may provide transaction advisory services associated with the development and implementation of PPP projects, he added.

 Michael Barrow, Director General (Private Sector Operations), highlighted that Pakistan had a lot of potential for private investment.

ADB is further committed to enhance its private sector operations in Pakistan through development of capital market and local currency financing, he added.