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Islamabad and Tehran agree to increase trade to $5 billion

Facing severe economic challenges marked by a weakening local currency and dwindling foreign exchange reserves, Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran, Mudassir Tipu, has expressed the commitment of both Islamabad and Tehran to elevate bilateral trade to $5 billion.

Highlighting the strategic and economic cooperation agreement signed for the 2023-28 period, the ambassador emphasized Pakistan’s dedication to enhancing trade relations with Iran. The five-year document, inked in August 2023, outlines measures to overcome trade barriers, establish institutional interactions in the private sector, and finalize a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Ambassador Tipu made these remarks during a visit to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, coinciding with the presence of Pakistani Navy ships at the First Naval Region of the Iranian army. This symbolic gesture aimed at promoting peace, friendship, and reinforcing ties between the two nations also seeks to bolster education-related activities and interactions with Iran.

Emphasizing the significance of Pakistan-Iran relations, the ambassador conveyed a message of solidarity, peace, and happiness for the region. Both countries remain steadfast in their commitment to preserving peace and stability in the region. The historical backdrop of economic relations and cultural exchanges, coupled with a substantial number of Pakistani pilgrims visiting Iran annually, adds depth to the enduring ties between the two nations.

Improved bilateral trade holds the potential to alleviate Pakistan’s escalating economic challenges. In the preceding year, former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi inaugurated projects such as the “Mand-Pishin Border Sustenance Marketplace” and the “220 kV Polan-Gabd Electricity Transmission Line,” exemplifying tangible cooperation. Islamabad’s ongoing efforts to enhance trade ties, particularly with neighboring nations, are crucial in addressing the country’s economic downturn, characterized by soaring inflation and elevated energy and commodity prices, exacerbated by financial strain following significant flood-related losses amounting to $30 billion.

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