With the country’s economy stuck in a downward spiral, Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran Mudassir Tipu said that the two countries are ready to increase their bilateral trade to $5 billion.
In a statement, the ambassador recalled the five-year document on strategic and economic cooperation signed between the two countries and reiterated Islamabad’s commitment to prioritise the promotion of trade relations with Tehran.
The document, 2023-28 trade cooperation agreement, referred by the envoy was signed in August 2023 and aims to address hurdles in bilateral trade and the finalisation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) along with the establishment of institutional interactions between private sectors of the neighbouring countries.
The envoy’s remarks came during a visit to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the occasion of Pakistan Navy ships being docked at the First Naval Region of the Iranian army — a symbolic move aimed at representing peace, friendship, and strengthening of friendly relations between the two nations.
The Pakistani gesture also aims to further improve education-related activities and interactions with Iran.
Speaking on bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries, the envoy underscored that Pakistan-Iran relations carry a message of solidarity, peace, and happiness to the region as the two countries remain committed to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
It is pertinent to mention that the two neighbouring countries have a history of economic relations and rich cultural exchanges with a large number of Pakistani zaireen (pilgrims) — estimated to be around 0.7 million — travelling to Iran each year.
Improved bilateral trade has the potential to be of paramount importance for Pakistan as it might ease Pakistan’s worsening economic woes.
Last year, former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi inaugurated the “Mand-Pishin Border Sustenance Marketplace” and “220 kV Polan-Gabd Electricity Transmission Line” projects as tangible manifestations of cooperation between the two countries.
Islamabad has been striving to improve bilateral trade with its allies, especially neighbouring countries, to tackle its collapsing economy that has resulted in rampant inflation and sky-high energy and commodities prices due to deteriorating financial indicators — especially after the massive floods that reported caused $30 billion in losses.