TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and Pakistan signed four agreements on cooperation at the end of the 17th session of their joint economic commission which concluded here in Tehran on Sunday.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki led the Iranian side during the meeting, while the Pakistani delegation was headed by the Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Syed Naveed Qamar.
The four documents included a memorandum of understanding signed at the conclusion of the 17th session of the two countries’ joint economic commission, an MoU between Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines and Federation of Pakistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries; an agreement between the two sides on international transport of passengers and goods, and an MoU between the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), and the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC).
Speaking on the occasion, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki commended the recent economic and industrial achievements of Pakistan and underlined that the potential of economic cooperation between the two countries was far more than the present volume of trade between them which is US$ 500 million annually.
He said the leadership of the two countries is determined to increase the level of bilateral trade up to US$ one billion in the near future.
The Iranian foreign minister said that the two countries were cooperating on the gas pipeline project and expressed hope that the peace pipeline will benefit not only the two countries but other countries in the region as well.
The Pakistani finance minister in his speech said that the two states’ joint economic commission is a useful institutional framework to regulate the economic relations and identify new areas of cooperation.
Referring to changing global economic trends, the minister highlighted that Iran and Pakistan needed to take positive steps towards greater economic integration.
Both countries also need to take initiatives in order to open up their economies and explore possibilities of enhancing trade, the minister added.
“we look forward to starting the bus service between the two countries by the middle of August which will facilitate travel of pilgrims and other visitors.”
The Minister highlighted the investment-friendly environment in Pakistan which had facilitated foreign direct investment of over US$ four billion in the country during 2007-08.
He also appreciated Iran’s cooperation in his country’s power projects.
Naveed Qamar expressed the hope that the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries will be more than US$ one billion by the next session of the joint economic commission.
He said the present democratic government in Pakistan was devising policies of good governance in accordance with the vision of the slain former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who gave the ultimate sacrifice by laying her life for the cause of democracy and socio-economic development of the people of Pakistan.
The Iranian foreign minister expressed sympathies on behalf of the government and people of Iran on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
The signing ceremony of the agreements and MoUs was attended by senior officials from both sides.