More border crossings to boost trade with Iran

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KARACHI: Two more crossing points between Pakistan and Iran may become operational by the end of this year after both governments have endorsed a proposal circulated by the Ministry of Commerce to facilitate and enhance bilateral trade.

Talking to Dawn, a member of the economic team said that work will soon begin on setting up crossing points at Gabd-Reemdan and Pishin-Mand.

Currently there is only one legal passage, the Taftan-Mirjaveh border crossing, used by passengers and cargo traffic for two way movement.

Meanwhile, exporters keen to capitalise on the opportunity of trade with Iran told Dawn that Pakistani banks were not ready to deal directly with Tehran despite the lifting of sanctions three weeks ago.

Private bankers, who are not permitted to comment formally, told Dawn in telephonic conversations that they do not want to do anything in haste and face the music later in the form of blacklisting.

“We prefer to be cautious and are waiting for written guidance and instructions from the State Bank in this regard,” the CEO of a major bank said.

Another source in the Ministry of Commerce told Dawn the government was weighing the possibility of developing a credible payment mechanism with Iran.

“Without wasting time, the SBP in consultation with its counterpart in Iran must evolve some mechanism of accounts settlement for quick results on trade enhancement,” he said.