ISLAMABAD: Higher Iranian tariffs and non-tariff barriers are main hurdles in promotion of Pakistani exports to Iran. Other significant hurdles include frequent changes in import regime of Iran, import authorization system, indirect trade via Dubai and others.
Pakistan-Iran trade went down from $1.32 billion in 2008-09 to $270 million in 2014-15 due to these reasons as well as international sanctions on Iran.
A document prepared by the Ministry of Commerce regarding barriers on promotion of bilateral trade with Iran and exclusively available with Customs Today reveals that Iran maintains high tariffs on Pakistani products of exports.
For instance, Iranian tariffs are as high as 120 percent and 100 percent on textiles and clothing respectively. Similarly, on leather and footwear the rate of tariff is 120 percent on the both. Moreover, there is tariff of 200 percent on fruits and vegetables and 90 percent on rice.
Thus these high tariffs are serious obstacle to Pakistani market access in Iran. Iran also maintains a permit system for importers and whenever the Iranian government wants to restrict imports it simply stops issuing the permits.
Moreover, according to Iranian system all the importers are required to first register their requests for import with Ministry of Commerce through a system called Sabt-e-safaresh. After processing of the case the Iranian Ministry of Commerce issues an import permit which is valid for six months. In some cases the issuance of import permit also requires NoC from other ministers and departments.
The document further reveals that Federation of International Transport Companies have reported that Pakistani transporters are being charged by Iranian authorities in the name of a number of taxes like visa fee, road tax, load tax and others.
Similarly, Iranian gate at Mirjaveh is closed at 2:00 pm and then transporters are ot allowed to cross the gate. On the other hand Pakistani gates remain open for 24 hours and even on holidays.