ICCIMA urges Caspian Sea states to join Chinese New Silk Road
10 June 2019 - Gholam Hossein Shafei, who presides over the Iranian private sector parliament says revival of this ancient trade corridor is the most important event that is happening in the region and world, saying Caspian Sea littoral countries need to joint that road faster.
Iran Chamber of Commerce has called on the Caspian Sea littoral states to step up efforts to join China’s growing initiative of New Silk Road.
“All countries need to define their economic position in reviving the New Silk Road and the success in this corridor requires cooperation with neighbours as well as trade synergy,” said Gholam Hossein Shafei, President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA).
“The biggest thing that is happening right now is the New Silk Road project that is being carried out very rapidly. So far, 67 countries have joined this trade corridor,” he added.
He was addressing the 18th meeting of the International Council of Business Cooperation (ICBC) of the Caspian Sea littoral states in Babolsar, one of the cities in the northern Iranian Mazandaran Province. More than 100 economic figures from the five countries bordering the Caspian Sea took part in the forum.
This is the second time that an Iranian city is hosting the event. The port city of Bandar Anzali in Gilan Province played host two years ago.
He also called for joint investment, creating free trade zones and establishing joint banks between the countries that border the Caspian Sea.
Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are the Caspian Sea littoral states.
“We seek constructive cooperation with our neighbours around the Caspian Sea through establishing mutual economic links based on our common history and culture,” Shafei added.
“To do so, the Iranian private sector tries to play its role through an emphasis on economic and social development, effective management of resources as well as diplomatic capacities,” he added.
Shafei called for efforts to turn the region into a “powerful economic bloc”, saying the five states need to strengthen their infrastructure such as extensive railways, shipping lines, multi-modal transportation as well as setting up a joint fund for financing common projects.
Caspian Sea littoral states account for an area of more than 22 million square kilometres. They also have a population of some 256 million people. The five states’s trade exchanges amount to $700bn. Their total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surpasses 4 trillion dollars, according to Shafei.
President of the Iranian private sector parliament stressed that Tehran is highlighting regional cooperation with neighbouring countries in the wake of unilateral US sanctions.
“Iran has educated workforce, vast resources, numerous economic potentials, can link Caspian Sea countries to other regional markets, provide commercial visas, cooperate in joint infrastructure projects such as building roads, tunnels, dams, extraterritorial cultivation,” highlighted Shafei.
Leaving dollar from multilateral trade
President of Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce Tizhush Taban noted that Iran aims to eliminate dollar in its trade exchanges with Caspian Sea littoral states.
“Dollar-based trade between regional countries hasn’t had any benefits for them,” he said, addressing the forum.