Head of Pak Central Bank: Pakistan fully open to Iranian banks

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Days before Iranian President’s visit to Pakistan, head of Pakistan’s central bank says that his country is fully open to Iranian banks to open their branches in the neighboring country.

Islamic Republic of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani will lead a high ranking economic and political delegation to Islamabad later the week on Friday and Saturday. A big trade delegation including dozens of Iranian traders from private sector will accompany President Rouhani to Pakistan.

In an interview with IRNA, Governor State Bank of Pakistan(Central Bank of Pakistan), Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, said in past years Bank Melli of Iran had expressed interest for opening its branch in Pakistan. “We will be very happy to revive that request if Bank Melli approaches the State Bank of Pakistan,” he said.

He said in past times Pakistani banks used to have braches in Iran and Habib Bank and United Bank have never closed their representative offices in Iran in worst of the times. “I am sure Habib Bank and United Bank will be one of the first Pakistani banks to start branches in Iran after lifting of sanctions,” he said.

Head of the SBP said that during his meeting with the Iranian Ambassador, he told him that three of Pakistani banks have already visited Iran recently and they are at a very advanced stage of collaborating with the Iranian banks to start transactions.

“Our market is very excited, our businessmen are excited, many visits have already taken place and we are looking forward to reviving centuries old trade relationship,” he said.

Ashraf Mahmood Wathra added that Asian Currency Unit has been opened between Iran and Pakistan. He said at this point trade and business between Iran and Pakistan can be carried out in Euros, Japanese Yen, British Pound, in RMB, in all currencies except US dollars because part of the US sanctions are still there.

The official said the kind of support US government had extended for removal of UN sanctions on Iran is very positive, and one day they must be thinking of taking away their own sanctions on Iran.

“It was not only Iran losing, many economies like us, North American economies, and the European economies who were doing business with Iran were also losing,” he said.

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