While citing reservations over Pakistani’s wheat quality, Iran has finally rebuffed to import one million tonnes wheat from Pakistan under a barter trade deal, said reliable sources.
According to sources familiar with the development told that Iran has conveyed to Pakistani authorities that it can only buy wheat with zero per cent karnal bunt content while Pakistani wheat is of 3 per cent content which is not acceptable for Iran.
“Iran has not officially conveyed Pakistani authorities so far about its refusal to import one million tonnes wheat under barter trade arrangements,” said an official working in Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
“Ministry of National Food Security and Research has been regularly contacting the Iranian authorities to finalise the modalities for exporting one million tonnes of wheat to Iran,” said an official, adding that Pakistan has not received any response from Iranian side so far to complete the deal which was earlier agreed to be finalized till May 14, 2014.
Finalisation of Pakistan and Iran barter trade deal had already been facing delay as Iranian authorities showed disinterest in importing wheat from Pakistan.
Earlier the matter could not be resolved in meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet because Pakistan Agriculture Storage Supplies Corporation (PASSCO) wanted to export wheat at the price of $315 per tonne then the ECC had constituted a sub- committee under the chair of then Federal Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar to resolve the issue. In the sub-committee meeting held on May 5, 2012 the committee was of the view that wheat should be exported according to the international price. But later, the committee agreed to export the wheat at the price of $275 per tonne. In the meeting of sub-committee Naveed Qamar had asked PASSCO to finalise the deal on the basis of talks held at Tehran between Pakistani and Iranian authorities in April this year.
In the meeting it had been decided in principle that one million tonnes of surplus wheat from PASSCO stocks and rice will be exported to Iran on barter trade arrangement. At that time Iran has expressed its desire to import both the items from Pakistan and in exchange urea will be imported from there.
Counsul general offers increasing trade to $ 10b
Pak-Iran relations are deeply rooted in the history and heritage, common culture and shared traditions. Geographical proximity linking their security interests, gives added depth and meaning to bilateral ties stated by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), President, Haji Fazal Kadir Khan Sherani while talking to visiting Iranian Consul General at Federation House Karachi. Iran, Consul General, Mr. Abbas Ali Abdollahi visited FPCCI to share bilateral relations between the two countries. Haji Fazal Kadir Khan Sherani said that Pakistan and Iran have always maintained a close cooperative relationship. Both countries are amongst the founding members of ECO & OIC, he said. “The Iranian Government has pledge $ 330 million through the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) Initiative. Pakistan and Iran have implemented PTA in 2006; however, the current volume of bilateral trade between the two countries is not reflective of the true potentials of the two countries. Current volume of bilateral trade is US $ 265 million approximately during 2011. Pakistan’s exports to Iran during the same period are US $ 136 million while imports are $ 129 million. New items in present PTA should be included and increase extent of concession on some items already in the PTA. Both countries should enhance trade promotion activities under the existing Preferential Trade Agreement”, he said. Sherani also emphasized the harmonisation between the rules and regulations of the two countries required to determine the balanced strategies regarding trade cooperation. He further added that Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline between energy deficient Pakistan and energy rich Iran is a feasible and doable project. Visa for businessmen on the recommendation of Chambers should be issued immediately and also establishment of separate counters for business visa also proposed by the President FPCCI. Iran, Consul General, Mr. Abbas Ali Abdollahi said that Iran and Pakistan can increase trade up to 10 billion dollar.