LAHORE - Federal Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that Pak-Iran gas pipeline will be completed during the tenure of the present government.

Talking to Iranian Rice Importers Association (IRIA) delegates, he said that Pakistan produces fine quality of rice and could cater huge demand of rice in the Iranian markets.  Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastagir said that the government would provide all necessary assistance to the Iranian rice importers to enhance export of rice and other food commodities.  He said the present government wanted to strengthen the connectivity in the sectors of energy, rail, roads, banks and even mobile phones so that the consistent trade relations could be developed between the both countries.

The minister said that international forces did not see the relations between Pakistan and Iran positively so it was important for the prosperity of the both nations to form such system which could promote the economic relations of the both countries without annoying the world.

He said the govt was working on Quetta-Zahidan motorway corridor which would be connected with the China- Gawadar trade corridor in the future. He said that a Land Port Authority was being established in the country to promote trade with neighbouring countries through land, adding a land port was also under consideration at the border of Tafatan and Quetta. He said it was good gesture that main leadership of the both countries were agreed on the speedy work on economic and trade relations between Pakistan and Iran during the visit of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to Iran in the mid of the current year. Khurram expressed his determination that the present trade agreement between Pakistan and Iran would be taken to a free trade agreement in future.

He said that a legal system for payments was being formed and work on it was under progress, adding the government would present a gift of restoration of trade to the traders from the commencement of the upcoming new year.

The delegates apprised the minister about the prospects of Pakistani rice in the Iranian markets. Meanwhile, the delegation also had mutual interactions with the representatives of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and discussed probabilities of exploring new opportunities of rice import from Pakistan. The delegates discussed with the rice experts in Pakistan about various precautionary measures and food safety mechanisms on rice.

During their meeting with the banking authorities, the delegates raised the intra- banking transaction issues between the two countries and emphasized to sort out an amicable payment mechanism. Pakistan being the fourth largest exporter of rice in the world has the potential to increase the graph of rice export to Iran.