Pakistan is vigorously working to clear the obstacles in barter trade with Iran, as Islamabad is all set to clear the power outstanding dues as well as ready to supply rice and wheat to Tehran on the account of commodity exchange.

Pakistan wants to clear all pending issues with Iran before the Joint Economic Council (JEC), which is scheduled to meet this quarter. Therefore, an inter-ministerial committee headed by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has met twice in last two weeks to resolve the pending issues. An inter-ministerial committee met on Thursday on facilitating Pakistan-Iran trade, within the ambit of UN sanctions. Finance Secretary Dr. Waqar Masood briefed the participants on the decisions made in the last meeting held on July 5, 2014 and progress made so far. He informed that in consultation with all the stakeholders, there are avenues that can be followed for trading with Iran on non-prescribed items and through non-sanctioned entities. He said that NTDC is willing to clear outstanding dues of Iran on account of supply of electricity to border areas and in this regard, Commerce Ministry is taking appropriate steps for commodity exchange. It was further informed that Iran has already laid down transmission lines up to their border for possible power supply to Gwadar and adjoining towns.

Secretary Commerce informed the Finance Minister that consultations are already at advanced stage for supply of Basmati rice and wheat to Iran on account of commodity exchange. He also informed that Iran has recently lifted ban on mango import from Pakistan and the gesture has set the pitch for enhanced barter trade. Finance Minister directed the concerned Ministries and Departments to resolve outstanding issues immediately and remove impediments in order to exploit full potential of bilateral trade. He mentioned about putting on fast track all the pending issues for resolution in or before the Joint Economic Commission to be held soon. The Finance Minister said that during the Prime Minister’s visit to Iran, both the sides had reaffirmed their commitment that while remaining within the ambit of UN sanctions, mutual trade and cooperation will be enhanced with barter trade and commodities exchange mechanism.

 He said that we need to build mutual confidence to overcome the impediments in barter trade and commodity exchanges facilities enabling the two countries to benefit from their proximity and neighbourhood. Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, Governor State Bank Ashraf Wathra, Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Shahzad Arbab, Commerce Secretary, Rana Assad Amin, Advisor to Finance Ministry Additional Finance Secretary/SA to Finance Minister, Shahid Mahmood and senior officials of the Finance Ministry.