ISLAMABAD/DHAKA (APP) - The bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran has crossed the figure of US$1 billion for the first time and has increased from 773.53 million in 2007-08 to US $1,251.37 million in 2008-09. According to a press statement received here from Embassy of Pakistan in Tehran, during the past years, Pakistan-Iran economic and trade relations have been continuously over-shadowed by several political and non political obstacles and their trade relations were not reflective of the true potentials. However, the statement added, with the coming to power of present government in Pakistan, the situation has started improving. During the last one and a half year, President Asif Ali Zardari has twice visited Iran, the statement said adding that similarly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also visited Islamabad. These visits have paved the way for further promotion of trade and economic relations between the two countries. The two governments have taken several steps to improve bilateral cooperation in the arena of trade and economy. Pakistan exports to Iran have shown an increasing trend which is very promising for its economy, the statement said adding that the exports have increased from US$214.20 million in 2007-08 to US$399.04 million in 2008-09, showing an increase of 86pc. Due to the initiative of the Democratic Government in December, 2008, Iran agreed to provide 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day on 90 days interest free deferred payment. Now Pakistans import have increased from 15,000 barrels per day (July 2008) to 50,000 barrels per day July 2009, accounting for 33pc of Pakistans crude oil imports. Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said, "Pakistan and China, tied together by time tested cordial relations in all spheres of life, will take strides to explore all possible avenues leading to increased investment opportunities in power as well as business sectors". He expressed these views while addressing a ceremony to celebrate 58th anniversary of Pakistan-China diplomatic relations organized by Pak-China Friendship Association (PCFA) NWFP here. The ambassador said the presence of Chinese entrepreneurs in the ceremony showed that the Chinese people were keen to exploit all opportunities in economic sector. He said we always stood by Pakistan in every difficult situation and reiterated that they would continue this cooperation in future. He said China has been extending all possible cooperation in hydel or road projects and despite law and order situation in Frontier province, the Chinese workers had never suspended work on different ongoing projects. He said that President Asif Ali Zardari forthcoming visit to China on 21st of this month would help enrich bilateral ties between the two states. Assuring all possible cooperation, he stressed upon the office bearers of the Association to work with dedication to improve people-to- people contact to further deepen the relation in business and other potential areas. He also invited the guest of honour Governor NWFP Owais Ahmed Ghani and businessmen to attend trade fair to be held in China in the mid of Sept. Governor NWFP Owais Ahmed Ghani said besides history, Pakistan and China also share cultures and said both people of NWFP and China bore similarities on many counts due to the fact that both were situated on Silk route. He said almost all the states those had gained powerful status, always had a history of bloodshed, but China stood apart due to its endeavours for prosperity, peace and stability. Lauding Chinese cooperation in power and business sector, the NWFP governor said the Chinese companies would have better opportunity to invest in road, construction and other sectors in operation hit areas. He said the government would engage private sector in the reconstruction of these areas. Owais said that law and order in the province was improving and they hoped increased Chinese investment in the province and FATA. NWFP Governor also lauded PCFA for the initiative to explore more avenues of mutual cooperation. Chairman of the Association Tasnim Advocate said among all Pakistans neighbours, China was the only one that was termed as brotherly state. He said huge number of people from Pakistan visited trade fairs in China to seek investment opportunities and enrich bilateral ties. Secretary Ministry of Human Rights Fareed Khan Wazir and a number of Chinese members were also present on the occasion. PCFA NWFP was founded in 1971 and since then it has been actively working to strengthen relations between two friendly nations. The efforts include exchange of visits to further increase the existing investment and trade relations besides exploring new ones.