ISLAMABAD - The federal cabinet is likely to approve restoration of Pakistan-Iran banking relationship with the view to significantly boost bilateral trade. Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan made these remarks in a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost.

He also said that talks with Iran for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were also likely to begin as the FTA draft that Pakistan had sent to the country had returned showing its willingness in this regard, and hence will be pursued vigorously.

Both the leaders discussed areas of mutual interest, including commerce and trade.

The ambassador asserted that the two brotherly Islamic countries must focus on developing economic and trade ties, as there were lots of grounds and avenues of cooperation in economic and trade spheres.

"Both countries have a large population of youth and increase in bilateral trade will help both the countries create job opportunities for the youth," added the ambassador.

Honardoost discussed with Dastgir the ways and means for further improving trade between Pakistan and Iran. "Both the countries must work on formulating long-term economic and trade policies and should have more exhibitions," suggested the ambassador.

The minister expressed the desire that both the countries should work on easing the visa process for businessmen and should also agree on the list of items to be covered by zero-rated regime in order to uplift trade.

The Iranian envoy appreciated positive response from the minister. In the end, both the sides agreed to hold further meetings at different levels to give practical shape to various proposals discussed in the meeting.