APP81-16 ISLAMABAD: December 16 - Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq, Member National Assembly (Patron in Chief) Pakistan-Iran Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry addressing during a reception hosted in honour of H.E. Mehdi honordost, Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran in Pakistan & H.E. Asif Durrani, Ambassador Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Iran. APP photo by Saleem Rana

ISLAMABAD, Dec 16 (APP): Patron in Chief of Pakistan Iran Joint Chamber and Industry Muhammad Ijazul Haq Friday said immense potential existed to promote Pakistan and Iran’s ties in diverse fields such as economy, trade, energy and banking.
Speaking at a reception organized in honour of ambassadors of Iran and Pakistan here, he said the joint chamber was set up six months ago with an aim to boost economic and trade ties between the two neighbours.
He said during a visit to Iran recently, a business delegation led by him held fruitful meetings with Iranian ministers and businessmen. “We have a very good neighbour and Pakistan-Iran relations are time tested.”
He said the ports of Gwadar and Chabahar would complement each other, adding Pakistan, Iran and China would join hands on the project of CPEC.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would bring the three countries together and they would work for promoting regional economic prosperity, he added.
He said Pakistan wanted to build a road link between Gwadar and Chabahar, which was three hours drive away.
The two countries were also making progress on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and transmission of electricity, he added.
Ijazul Haq said State Bank of Pakistan and Central Bank of Iran would work out an arrangement soon to facilitate banking transactions.
He said there was a potential for increasing trade in sectors of pharmaceutical, agriculture and surgical instruments.
Pakistani businessmen had committed to initiate a joint venture in the fertilizer sector of Pakistan, he said adding Pakistan and Iran were coming closer to enhance bilateral trade and complement each others economies.
Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honordost said it was the desire of the leadership of two countries to promote bilateral ties.
The joint chamber of commerce had support of Iranian government, he added.
He said impediments, in trade between the two countries, were lack of banking facilities.
He said Pakistan and Iran had agreed on a draft of free trade agreement and the process would move ahead in the coming months.
The Iranian envoy said the two countries would start direct flights between Tehran and Islamabad before the start of Nauroze.
He was optimistic that in the next three months, progress would be seen in different fields.
He said Chabahar and Gwadar would become partner ports and would complement each other.
Ambassador of Pakistan to Iran Asif Durrani said Pakistan and Iran were two brotherly countries and had a long history of ties rooted in common civilization.
The two countries stood by each other in difficult times and were together despite many challenges, he added.
“I can say with satisfaction that the two countries never have irritants in their bilateral relations.”
He said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Pakistan in March and agreed to increase bilateral trade from $ 500 million to $ five billion by 2021.
He said after removal of international sanctions on Iran, there were better chances of improving trade ties between Pakistan and Iran.
President Pakistan Iran Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Wali Muhammad briefed about the newly formed trade body.
Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada was also present at the reception alongwith members of different chambers of commerce and industry, diplomats and high ranking officials.

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