Pakistan, Iran agree wheat price in barter deal

A French farmer drives his combine harvester through a field as he reaps his wheat crop in Bugnicourt, northern France, August 9, 2012. (REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has agreed a price for 1 million tonnes of wheat it will export to Iran in a barter deal, a senior Pakistani official involved in the negotiations said on Thursday.

The deal, first proposed in March with Iran exporting fertiliser and iron ore to Pakistan in exchange for wheat, has been deadlocked for months over price and quality.

Iran's attempts to secure millions of tonnes of wheat through barter deals with Pakistan and India, avoiding Western sanctions aimed at deterring its nuclear programme, have faltered. Tehran faces premium prices in international markets to secure critical food supplies.

Food imports are not targeted under the sanctions, but Iranian companies have been cut off from much of the global banking system because of the financial measures against Tehran, making payments difficult and discouraging traders.

Iran will import wheat at $300 per tonne, the official from Pakistan's Ministry of National Food Security and Research told Reuters. The official requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

"The price for wheat has been agreed, at $300 dollars per tonne, but Iranian officials still have to visit Pakistan to check the quality of the wheat before shipments can be finalised," the official said.

"We also have to wait for discussions on the price of fertiliser and iron that will come to Pakistan. I don't expect further movement on this until the end of August."





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