Econ­omy min­is­ter re­veals plans to boost trade with Azer­bai­jan

Iran Daily - - Domestic Economy -

Iran is in keen to co­op­er­ate with Azer­bai­jan in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor, said Iran’s Eco­nomic Af­fairs and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ma­soud Kar­basian, adding Iran is ca­pa­ble of shar­ing its ex­pe­ri­ence to the neigh­bor­ing coun­try.

Iran has proper ex­pe­ri­ence and tech­nol­ogy in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor, there­fore the Is­lamic Repub­lic is in­ter­ested in co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries, in­clud­ing Azer­bai­jan, in this sphere, the min­is­ter told Trend News Agency.

Turn­ing to Iran’s an­nual im­ports of agri­cul­ture prod­ucts, he said Iran could meet a part of its needs for agri­cul­ture prod­ucts by grow­ing and har­vest­ing agri­cul­tural plants abroad.

He touched upon Iran’s agri­cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence in Ukraine, Kaza­khstan and Brazil as well as South Africa, not­ing agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion could play a ma­jor role in broad­en­ing trade ties.

Ira­nian and Azer­bai­jani of­fi­cials plan to launch a joint ven­ture to pro­duce agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery and equip­ment.

The Is­lamic Repub­lic ex­ported 5.8 mil­lion tons of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts worth of $5.686 bil­lion dur­ing the year to March 20, which in­di­cates a 21.7-per­cent growth in terms of vol­ume and 3.61 per­cent in terms of value.

Iran’s agri­cul­tural ex­ports con­sti­tuted 4.48 per­cent of its to­tal non-oil ex­ports in terms of vol­ume and 12.97 per­cent in terms of value.

Spe­cial eco­nomic zone

Kar­basian said that Iran wel­comes Azer­bai­jan’s pro­posal to cre­ate a spe­cial eco­nomic zone in the Ira­nian bor­der city of As­tara.

The es­tab­lish­ment of spe­cial eco­nomic zone, he pointed out, would ex­empt Azer­bai­jan from some reg­u­la­tions and it would also pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for Baku to ben­e­fit from its in­vest­ments in Iran’s As­tara. Kar­basian fur­ther vowed to fol­low up on the pro­posal to help Azer­bai­jan make use of its in­vest­ment plan in the Ira­nian bor­der city.

The pro­posal to set up the eco­nomic zone was made by Azer­bai­jan’s Econ­omy Min­is­ter Shahin Mustafayev at a joint meet­ing on Oct. 26.

Azer­bai­jan has ear­lier agreed to pro­vide €60 mil­lion in in­vest­ment for de­vel­op­ing rail­way fa­cil­i­ties there.

Use of na­tional cur­ren­cies

The min­is­ter called for us­ing na­tional cur­ren­cies in trade with Azer­bai­jan, terming the ex­pan­sion of bank­ing co­op­er­a­tion as the means for broad­en­ing eco­nomic and in­dus­trial ties be­tween the two coun­tries. Kar­basian said the two sides are in talks on es­tab­lish­ing an in­de­pen­dent bank to fa­cil­i­tate fi­nan­cial ties be­tween the two coun­tries, as well as us­ing na­tional cur­ren­cies in bi­lat­eral trade. Speak­ing about Iran’s ex­pe­ri­ence in us­ing na­tional cur­rency in trade with Turkey and Rus­sia, he said that the same method can be ap­plied for Azer­bai­jan.

Ear­lier in Septem­ber, the cen­tral banks of Iran and Turkey inked an agree­ment on con­duct­ing bi­lat­eral trade us­ing lo­cal cur­ren­cies.

Based on the agree­ment, the Ira­nian and Turk­ish cen­tral banks will al­lo­cate a credit of five bil­lion li­ras and its equiv­a­lent in ri­als to their re­spec­tive agent banks. This amount will be used as let­ters of credit with a re­pay­ment pe­riod of one year for both coun­tries’ traders.

New JV

Kar­basian de­scribed a pro­posal on launch­ing a joint ven­ture on bus pro­duc­tion in Azer­bai­jan as sig­nif­i­cant, adding the bus man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try is ca­pa­ble of cre­at­ing jobs.

Iran, he added, has been pro­duc­ing and ex­port­ing buses for the past 70 years. He pointed out that his coun­try is ready to trans­fer its know-how on man­u­fac­tur­ing buses to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries in­clud­ing Azer­bai­jan.

Speak­ing about Iran’s ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge in man­u­fac­tur­ing buses, the min­is­ter hoped that the talks with Azer­bai­jan in this re­spect would bear fruit in the fu­ture.

Kar­basian added that the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries in the joint ven­ture for pro­duc­ing pas­sen­ger cars in Azer­bai­jan, has paved the ground for joint pro­duc­tion of buses.

Iran Kho­dro and Az­er­mash are plan­ning to launch the first Ira­nian-azer­bai­jani joint ven­ture for pro­duc­ing pas­sen­ger cars in near fu­ture.

Of­fi­cials an­nounced ear­lier that the con­struc­tion of the joint ven­ture’s pro­duc­tion line for cars in Azer­bai­jan’s Neftchala in­dus­trial park has al­most been com­pleted and it will prob­a­bly go on stream by March.

Other fields of co­op­er­a­tion

Kar­basian also touched upon plans to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion in other spheres in par­tic­u­lar ma­rine trans­porta­tion, power gen­er­a­tion and cus­toms ser­vices.

High­light­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties for broad­en­ing the co­op­er­a­tion in ma­rine trans­port in the Caspian Sea, he said that the de­vel­op­ment of Iran’s Caspian and Amirabad ports, as well as Azer­bai­jan’s Alat port will cre­ate the fa­cil­i­ties for launch­ing mar­itime trans­porta­tion to trans­port freight and pas­sen­gers be­tween the two coun­tries.

The two sides also dis­cussed the ways to in­crease the work­ing hours of cus­toms ser­vices be­tween the two coun­tries with a view to ease tran­sit of goods.

Kar­basian then turned to elec­tric­ity swap be­tween Iran and Azer­bai­jan and called for fol­low­ing up on the plans to widen co­op­er­a­tion in this re­gard.

Dur­ing the visit of Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev to Iran on Feb. 23, 2016, an agree­ment was signed for co­op­er­a­tion on the use of water re­sources and con­tin­u­a­tion of con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion of the Khoda­farin and Qiz Qalasi hy­dro­elec­tric fa­cil­i­ties on the Aras River.

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