0640 GMT January 17, 2021
A report by IRNA said Rahmani met with business leaders and entrepreneurs from the border province of Sistan-Baluchestan just before the trip to Pakistan on Thursday.
The meeting was apparently in line with Rahmani’s main objective from the trip to Pakistan which is to expedite efforts to set up a barter committee between the two neighbors to help them trade amid sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States.
Establishing the barter committee was agreed during a trip in April to Tehran by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The idea came after the two sides failed to finalize a long-awaited agreement on free trade, citing reasons such as US sanctions and the fact that a previous preferential trade deal, signed in 2006, had failed to fully materialize.
Pakistani media said the issue of the barter committee was high on the agenda in Rahmani’s first meeting in Islamabad on Thursday.
The ARY News TV channel said the Iranian minister met Abdul Razak Dawood, a senior advisor to Pakistani premier, where the two officials discussed the need to identify trade items that could properly work in a barter mechanism.
Before his trip to Pakistan, Rahmani hinted that Iran could offer Islamabad an array of export items manufactured in the Iranian construction sector and barter them for Pakistan’s agricultural and pharmaceutical products.
The current value of trade between Iran and Pakistan is worth more than $1.3 billion although US sanctions on Tehran have reportedly affected normal trade activities between the two neighbors.
Iran and Pakistan have declared that they could still pursue a target of $5 billion worth of bilateral trade if they could work on mechanisms like barter.