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Iran ready to barter electricity with rice from Pakistan: Minister

Iran’s trade minister says Pakistan should decide if it wants to barter its rice with Iran’s electricity.

Iran’s minister of trade Alireza Razm Hosseini says the country is ready to barter its electricity with rice from Pakistan, saying the launch of the exchange mechanism is waiting for a final decision by financial authorities in Islamabad.

“In return for exports of electricity we can import rice from Pakistan and the issue is waiting for a decision by the related (government) departments in Pakistan including the country’s central bank,” said Razm Hosseini on Tuesday.

Rice exporters in Pakistan have been urging the government to use a barter system with Iran that could bypass US sanctions and allow Islamabad to settle its bills for Iranian electricity supplies while helping rice farmers and traders in Pakistan to expand their activity.

Some have also suggested a barter mechanism for rice against imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Iran although Tehran seems reluctant to make its precious supplies of liquid fuels available for such swaps.

Razm Hosseini’s Tuesday remarks came following a phone call between the minister and Abdul Razak Dawood, who serves as advisor on commerce, industries and production and investment to the Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan.

The phone call, held upon a request by the Pakistani embassy in Tehran, was in line with preparations for an upcoming meeting of Iran-Pakistan Joint Trade Committee in Tehran. Dawood is expected to attend the committee meeting to sign a series of key cooperation documents, including a potential deal on electricity for rice barter.

Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade (MIMT) said Dawood had stated in the Tuesday phone call with Razm Hosseini that Pakistan would be able to supply up to one million metric tons of rice a year to Iran in return for electricity imports from its neighbor.

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