Union of Small and Medium Enterprises regrets big business with Iran suffering due to non clarity

Karachi, May 04, 2016 (PPI-OT): The SME rice exporters are contacting the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) and complaining that commercial banks are not clearing online Form E for exports to Iran and are not yet ready for transactions with Iran as no procedure has been outlined.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the exporters are facing hardships and are unable to finalize orders from Iran despite no sanctions exist against Iran. It is pertinent to note that no sanctions can ever be imposed on food and medicine items as per United Nations charter but since Iran was boycotted by SWIFT, trade with Iran became impossible and goods were shipped to Dubai and from there to Iran.

Now that the sanctions have been removed businessmen have become active for exports and imports to and from Iran but are unable to go forward due to lack of clarity about procedure. Thaver said for export of rice, the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) needs to take up the matter and not sit hand on hand. However he said that “on our part we will invite the attention of the policy makers on the subject for trade with Iran as the exporters and importers are both waiting to begin business with Iran”.

One leading commercial bank said that they have not received any clear instructions from State Bank of Pakistan and are therefore not ready yet. Another bank also said that the goods are being shipped to Iran but payment is being made by banks in other countries because payment mechanism has not yet been defined and the banks in Pakistan need to appoint their correspondents in Iran but they need the support and framework from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

One other leading bank informed that although SBP has issued a circular that Iran has been removed from the list of countries against whom there are sanctions but the names of 13 Iranian banks are in the black list. Secondly it is very important for SBP to outline the procedure and determine the payment mechanism for import and export with Iran. Thaver said the commercial banks also need to take the initiative and nominate correspondents in Iran form the list of banks open for business transaction and seek approval from the SBP to expedite matters rather than sitting hand on hand.

UNISAME has requested SBP Exchange Control Department to examine the matter and inform all commercial banks the procedure and mechanism for export and import to and from Iran. Time is the essence and we need to move fast to meet global competition and commence business with Iran promptly. As far as rice is concerned we really need to move fast as the new crop is expected in the last quarter and before that we need to sell our existing stock.

For more information, contact:
Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME)
75/1 3rd Commercial Street,
Phase IV, D.H.A., Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-35884225-6
Fax: +92-21-35380642
Cell: +92-300-8245307, +92-321-8245307
Email: unisame@gmail.com