A high-powered Pakistani delegation will arrive in Tehran on today. The delegation will comprise Secretary National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) Shafqat Hussain Nagmi, Managing Director of Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) Major General Sohail Shafkat and other senior officials from the ministry of production, ministry of commerce and ministry of industries.
"We have offered one million tons of wheat to Iran and in return Tehran will provide us fertilizers and iron ore. We had carried out laboratory tests of the wheat which are fine and we are also taking its sample with us," Nagmi told the Pakistani News daily.
"We will discuss the pricing of these commodities which both countries are willing to trade under barter arrangement," he added. Another official said that Pakistan is interested to take 0.6 million tons of urea and 0.2 million tons of iron ore out of which 30,000 tons will be of lump ore and remaining as fine iron ore for the state-run Pakistan Steel Mills.
Gul Muhammad Rind, secretary of the ministry of production, said, "This will be a big breakthrough in Iran-Pakistan trade if materialized as both sides are very much enthusiastic about this deal which will benefit both countries."
All the federal ministries are on the same page and want to push this barter deal forward, he added.
The proposed arrangement was first discussed in February this year when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting in Islamabad. The two leaders were resolved to jack up bilateral trade to $10 billion through barter system.
In the same month, Iranian Deputy Commerce Minister Abbas Ghobadi also held meetings with top business community and senior government officials in Pakistan to step up work on this deal. At the meeting with Pakistan's water and power minister Syed Naveed Qamar, he had also expressed that Tehran was also interested in importing 0.2 million tons of rice from Pakistan.