Is trade with Iran a Godsend after CPEC?

Iran Pakistan gas-pipeline

25 March: Speaking to Pakistan-Iran Joint Business Forum in Islamabad, PM Sharif says Pakistan and Iran can move the volume of bilateral trade up to $5 billion in five years.

25 March: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani ‏is in Pakistan to discuss important regional and global issues and explore opportunities for constructive engagement, his tweet said.

1 March: Following the lifting of sanctions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is to visit Pakistan by the end of this month to push for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline (IP Gas) project.

30 August 2015: Pakistan’s ambassador in Iran Noor Muhammad Jadmani says Pakistan is going to speed up the construction of IP Gas pipeline.

23 August: British embassy in Tehran reopens after four years of closure.

See also: $10B TAPI natural gas pipeline to be operational in 2020

13 August: Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif discusses resumption of work on the stalled Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline (IP Gas) during a visit to Islamabad today. Zarif met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other officials.

10 August: Iran’s deputy oil minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia says a Pakistani delegation is currently in Tehran to discuss construction of the IP Gas pipeline. “Pakistani officials have indicated their willingness to resume construction of the Iran gas pipeline,” Zamaninia said. “Negotiations have not been finalised yet and the two sides are still engaged in preliminary talks.” – Iran news agency PressTV


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By Wali Zahid

The day I was writing a blog post titled: A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50, Iran was signing the historic nuclear deal with six Western powers.

In my attempt to understand how Pakistan, unlike its past, was laying foundation for a long term future orientation, I was narrating the CPEC projects with China and other reasons. This is what I wrote about Iran:


With this came Iran’s nuclear deal with the world powers, reshaping the ties between Iran and the West. Which means revival of Rs 1 trillion 2,775km Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline (IP Gas) and LNG smart gas projects.

Now, this is future. This is Long Term.


Only yesterday, the UK eased its travel advice and allowed British nationals to travel to Iran.

In the first week of August, an Iranian delegation is expected to visit Islamabad.

The Iranian delegation will meet Commerce Minister Khuram Dastgir, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to explore ways to expand bilateral trade from the current $1 billion to $5 billion in five years.

Pakistan exports to Iran: Food items including rice, meat, fruits and paper.

Pakistan imports from Iran: Chemicals, plastic products, bitumen, paraffin, iron scrap and machinery related products.

Pakistan shares a 900km border with Iran.

So, is trade with post-sanctions Iran another Godsend after China?

Today, John Hudson in Washington wrote this in Foreign Policy magazine. This reaffirms the opportunity and the Pakistani political leadership’s will.

Enjoy and brace for massive opportunity.


Have you seen CPEC & OBOR stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free

China’s world-reshaping One Belt, One Road (OBOR)


Washington: Striking a notably upbeat tone, a top aide to Pakistani PM Sharif praised the nuclear deal between Iran and the United States, calling it an agreement that will advance the cause of both peace and economic growth in the region.

“We are convinced that it is the right thing,” said the special assistant to the prime minister, Syed Tariq Fatemi, speaking to a small group of reporters in Washington.

“We are also convinced that an end to sanctions will open up new opportunities for Pakistan to enhance its commercial and economic ties to Iran.”

Much has been made of the spike in European business interest in Iran following the July 14 accord that will ease economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program. But Pakistan, too, is urgently keen to open up trade with Iran, Fatemi said.

“We have a long border, and we could have massive trade with that country, should this issue of sanctions no longer be hovering over us,” said Fatemi.

Islamabad’s warm relations with Tehran date back to Pakistan’s founding in 1947, when its sovereign status was quickly recognised by Iran.

During the Cold War, Iran backed Pakistan in its rivalry with India, and the favour was returned in the 1980s through Islamabad’s support for Tehran during the Iran-Iraq War.

 

Pakistan’s interest in the lifting of United Nations sanctions on Tehran most immediately pertains to long-stalled efforts to operate a gas pipeline into Iran’s southern energy fields.

Islamabad’s nagging power crisis has hampered economic growth and caused recurring outages, infuriating the country’s 200 million residents.

In March 2013, Pakistan announced a $7.5 billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, but international sanctions have prevented Islamabad from raising the money required to construct its share of the project.

“This pipeline would not only benefit Pakistan in terms of providing us a valuable source of energy,” said Fatemi. “We also believe that such a pipeline could also encourage cooperation among the countries of the region that would really strengthen peace and stability.”

“As soon as the sanctions are lifted, we will explore avenues and opportunities of strengthening our economic [and] commercial ties with Iran,” added Fatemi.

By: John Hudson, Foreign Policy


Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

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Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

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How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Will you choose Project Ignorance over education?

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