LAHORE: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has urged the Iranian government to permanently allow import of Pakistani kinnows in order to enhance bilateral trade as Iran consumes 60,000 tons of the citrus fruit per annum.
In a statement, FPCCI Horticulture Committee Regional Chairman Ahmad Jawad recalled that the Trade Promotion Organisation of Iran allowed import of Pakistani kinnows in February last year for only two months, which he termed unfortunate.
He emphasised that the Iranian government may realise that Pakistan’s kinnow was in great demand, as reflected in previous year’s figures, and kinnow exporters may ship good volumes this year.
He suggested that the Iranian Agriculture Ministry should sit with Pakistan’s commerce ministry and share its apprehensions, if any, so that mutually the two sides could find a permanent solution.
“Both governments must understand that it will take almost a year after giving permanent permission in order to execute kinnow trade properly because there are a lot of formalities between the buyer and the seller,” he said.
Central banks of Iran and Pakistan have already signed an agreement to forge banking links, which will increase bilateral trade three times and address challenges as routing payments have been a big hindrance to commerce between the businessmen of both sides.
Jawad suggested that the Agriculture Ministry of Iran and the Ministry of Commerce should grant special tariff concessions under the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) on the export of fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
“K-P has rich potential and produces delicious fruits in the mountainous region; most of the produce is organic due to favourable climatic conditions and it will be a good addition to the market of Iran.”
He summed up government’s view of the economy in a few short phrases. “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it, and if it stops moving, subsidise it.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2017.