LAHORE - The speakers at a seminar have stressed the need for revival of banking channels between Pakistan and Iran.

“The mode of business transactions between Pakistan and Iran is presently through Asian Clearing Union (ACU) which is more time consuming than a normal way of opening LC. Opening of LC through Iran’s sister companies in Dubai also adds to the cost,” said LCCI former vice president Kashif Anwar.

Addressing “The great dialogue on trade between Iran and Pakistan” held at the Iranian Consulate in Lahore on Sunday, the former VP observed that it would be more profitable if trade was permitted in local currencies instead of dollars.

He said that Pakistan and Iran currency swap agreement was another important option to enhance trade. "The Iranian importers have been placing orders, but we are unable to meet them because of absence of banking links. So, other countries are taking benefit and capturing our share by doing currency swap deals even during sanctions," he added.

He said that lack of communication & data sharing was one of the biggest reasons for low trade. "So, chambers and other government trade bodies of both the countries must play their role in developing better data exchange system to improve coordination," he asserted.

He said that better means of communication & transportation must be provided and developed for the easy movement of people and goods like container train & direct flights between major cities of the two countries.

Kashif Anwar said that Joint Chamber of Commerce between Pakistan and Iran will facilitate greater connection between the private sectors of the two countries. "There is a wide communication gap between the two countries," he observed.

 The Trade policy should be soft and flexible. High rate of duties will affect the trade and encourage other illegal means.  Tariff & non-tariff barriers must be identified, tried to reduce and increase measures for easing legal trade.

The speakers said that Iran is not only Pakistan’s good friend and neighbor but also an Islamic brother state. Friendship between two countries is rooted in shared history, culture and faith. Close ties since centuries existed between the Muslims  of sub-continent and Iran which extended after the Independence of Pakistan. Till today both the countries are enjoying cordial, brotherly and friendly relations.

Trade between Pakistan and Iran fell to $432 million in 2010-11 from $1.32 billion in 2008-09, according to the Trade

Development Authority of Pakistan, after western powers imposed sanctions on Tehran. During first nine months the fiscal year 2015-16, Pakistan exported goods worth $31.45 million whereas the imports stood at $0.27 million so the overall trade volume is very low which requires special attention. It is expecting to increase trade volume to $ 5 b under 5 year bilateral trade roadmap.