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Iran for establishing banking channels

LAHORE: Former Iranian foreign minister Syed Kamal Kharazi has said that Iran is working on the proposal of opening formal banking channel with Pakistan in order to support traders and industrialists of both sides. 
He was speaking at a reception hosted by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) in his honour the other day. He said the Iranians are very fond of Pakistani basmati rice and the government is working on developing ways and means for direct rice import from Pakistan instead of indirect import. 
Acting Iranian Consul General Majid Sadeghi Dowlatabadi, REAP’s Founding Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik and others were also present on this occasion. 
Kharazi said Tehran was interested in bilateral cooperation in various sectors and not just rice and was negotiating with Islamabad for reducing duties on bilateral trade. He also reminded the audience that Iran was among the first nations to accept Pakistan soon after its creation. 
Speaking on this occasion, REAP Chairman Sami Ullah Naeem said that both the countries share religious and cultural ideology. He said agriculturally-enriched Pakistan wanted to have bilateral trade relations with petroleum-enriched Iran. “We both have the right products for each other to trade. It includes Iranian petroleum, iron ore and fertilizer while Pakistan can provide rice, wheat and yarn,” he proposed. 
“We both have the potential to increase our bilateral trade volume to 5 billion US dollars if the problem in transferring money through banking channel is addressed. Taking leverage of your esteemed presence here today, I propose to open Iranian bank in Pakistan which will, by far, the most conducive step forward for ensuring sustainable trade between both Islamic nations. The presence of Iranian bank in Pakistan will facilitate private business in Pakistan to interact with Iranian counterparts on long term basis,” the REAP chairman added. 
He expressed the intentions of rice exporters to see things moving forward in the right direction and evolving to a much needed ‘a currency swap agreement – our final destination’. The currency swap agreement ensures participation and involvement of private sector across the borders and hence crafting a much deep rooted ties which are beyond international pressure. 
Samee Ullah also announced to lead a 17-member delegation to Tehran, Mashhad, from April 29, and sought assistance of the Iranian authorities to make it a great success. The visit would ensure vibrant businessmen interactions from both sides resulting in enhanced trade within regional block, he opined.