Significant discrepancies have surfaced in the trade statistics between Pakistan and Iran, particularly concerning rice exports from Pakistan. According to sources, the Iranian Customs has informed Pakistan’s commerce ministry that it imported approximately $700 million worth of rice from the Zahedan border between March 2022 and March 2023. However, data maintained by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) does not align with these figures.
Expressing concern, the commerce ministry has reportedly communicated with the FBR chairman, urging an investigation into the discrepancies in trade data provided by the Customs authorities of both countries. The ministry is calling for appropriate corrective measures to ensure accurate records of exports and the subsequent receipt of export proceeds.
In the fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23), Pakistan is said to have exported rice valued at $2.4 billion to various countries. Despite official restrictions on trade between Pakistan and Iran due to US sanctions, sources indicate that there are no barriers to bilateral trade involving food items and medicines.
The Pakistan Business Council recently wrote to the finance minister, disclosing that Pakistani traders reported imports totaling nearly $19 billion from China, Singapore, Germany, and the United Kingdom in the calendar year 2022. However, these four trading partners reported exports of $26.3 billion to Pakistan during the same period, revealing a significant disparity of $7.5 billion.