Pakistan and Iran consider opening bank branches, exchange companies in each others' territory

Pakistan and Iran consider opening bank branches, exchange companies in each others’ territory

KARACHI: The authorities of Pakistan and Iran have proposed to establish bank branches in each others' territories to improve banking relations between the two countries. Iran's banks would setup their branches in Quetta-Pakistan while Pakistan's banks will open branches in Zahedan-Iran as per the rules and regulations.

At the 4th Joint Border committee meeting held in Quetta the other day, it was also agreed that till completion of formalities for regular banking by both the governments, the two sides will explore the possibility of establishing foreign exchange companies in the respective chambers of commerce to guarantee the payments between the traders  of both the countries. It was also proposed at the meeting that these exchange companies may be provided foreign exchange at the official/government  rates as available to the banks. The Iranian delegation was headed by Nader Mirshekar Director of Industry, Mines and Commerce Organization and the Pakistani delegation was headed by Saeed Jadoon collector MCC Quetta. With a view to further promote bilateral trade and economic relations and to facilitate border trade exchanges, both sides emphasized on implementation of the first, second and third border trade committee meeting decisions.

Customs of two sides agreed to electronically exchange the information to guarantee the correct implementation of Customs regulations, investigate and prevent Customs offenses. Both Pakistan and Iran agreed to exchange relevant data temporarily through email till the completion of electronic data interchange (EDI) between the two countries.

The Iranian team proposed that three more Customs stations should be activated opposite three Iranian border markets at Shamsar, Rotak and Irafshan. It may be mentioned here that Pakistan Customs has already setup Customs stations opposite five Irani border markets at Mirjaveh, Kohak, Jalgh, Pishin and Rimdan.

The Pakistani side informed the meeting that there was lack of infrastructure at the proposed border markets, however the proposal would be taken up with the concerned authorities.

Both the sides agreed to explore the possibility of investment in warehouses and other infrastructure at Mirjava. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Quetta showed its readiness to invest in the proposed projects jointly with the Iranian side provided the details of the terms and conditions and security arrangements of their investments are shared with them and guaranteed. The  Iranian side also informed that in addition to allowing the storage of the goods at existing warehouses of Mirjava Terminal, additional land is being allotted to Zahidan Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines for establishment of new warehouses.

Moreover, another warehouse with covered area of 5,000 square meters will be made available for storage of goods at Zahidan within one month to alleviate problems faced by Pakistani exporters. It was also agreed to allow storage at private warehouses subject to approval of Iranian custom authorities. The meeting was informed that the matter of exemption and preferential trade had been taken up at the level of Ministries of Commerce of both the countries and an agreement on the reduction of rate of import tariff on various items would be discussed in near future.

Iranian side informed that they had a highly developed fisheries sector at Chabahar and Kunarak and shown their readiness to share their expertise with their counterparts in Pakistan. It was agreed that head of fisheries department in Baluchistan along with experts will visit province of Siestan Baluchistan, Islamic Republic of Iran in the next meeting of JBTC to have discussions on the subject. Pakistani side also raised the issue of return of 13 fishing boats detained by Iranian authorities for illegal entry into Iranian waters. The Iranian side agreed to take the issue with the relevant authorities for favorable consideration.

The Iranian side raised the issue of allowing transportation of export consignments to the cities i.e Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad etc. Pakistani side informed that such transportation is permissible through bonded carries / transport operators duly registered with Pakistan customs and also subject to financial security for the leviable duty and taxes. The 5th meeting of Joint Border Committee will be held in Seistan, Iran in 2017.

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