As per recent information available, it has been reported that members of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) have decided to open their offices in Tehran and Mashhad in a bid to increase exports to 600,000 to 700,000 tons to Iran which is the top Basmati rice importer in the world. In view of the help to be received from the Ministry of Commerce, the REAP members will invite Iranian rice importers to Pakistan for business-to-business meetings to increase their rice trade between the two neighbors, as it has been indicated in a press release. The decision has been taken after a REAP delegation visited Iran and met rice importers with the assistance of Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in Tehran. The meetings have proved quite successful and rice exporters are expecting to get new orders accordingly.
Further, in this regard, in one of the seminars organized recently by REAP at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry ,the leading bankers pointed out that the State Bank of Pakistan had yet to remove all hurdles in the way of establishing banking links with Iran. Keeping in view, the efforts to open offices in Iran have the backing of the Pakistan government and the Ministry of Commerce, the exporters narrated that they are hopeful of getting new business from Iran too.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan, which used to be the top rice exporter to Iran, has seen a significant decline in its share in the last two years because of the tightening of international sanctions on Tehran. It has also been revealed that Iran annually imports more than $2 billion worth of rice. However, the Pakistan’s share is negligible as it exported 2,234 tons in fiscal year 2015, fetching just $1.32 million. Further, the exporters told that in this matter the India has replaced Pakistan in Iranian rice markets because of better government-to-government arrangements for trade payments.