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President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Hossein Selahvarzi and his Turkish counterpart Rifat Hisarciklioglu has underlined the need for a roadmap to give a boost to cooperation between the two chambers of commerce.

Selahvarzi and Hisarciklioglu met on the sidelines of the 35th meeting of the Board of Directors of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (ICCIA) in Baku on Monday.

Speaking in the meeting, the Iranian side said that Iran Chamber of Commerce is planning to form a working group for trade with Turkiye in different economic areas.

He voiced the readiness of Iran private sector to engage in further cooperation with regional countries, Turkiye in particular.

Selahvarzi invited his Turkish counterpart for a visit to Tehran in the near future to hold a trade and investment forum of the two countries with participation of businesspeople from both sides.   

He underlined the need for close engagements of the chambers of commerce of Iran and Turkiye within the framework of a four-year roadmap for further cooperation.

The president of the Union of Chambers and Community Exchanges of Turkiye (TOBB), for his part, welcomed the plans of Iran Chamber of Commerce for enhancement of cooperation and proposed that both chambers of commerce sign a memorandum of understanding on the roadmap for cooperation.

The two sides also agreed to do every effort to increase the level of bilateral trade, exchange trade information and cooperate to help lift hurdles on the way of trade.

A railway has been relaunched to link Khaf in northeastern Iran to Rozanak in Afghanistan’s Herat Province.

Launch of the strategic railway took place in a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon attended by officials from both Iran and Afghanistan.

Iran and Afghanistan had agreed on the relaunch of the project on December 2022.

The first part of the railway project was inaugurated early in December 2020. This part of the railway linked Khaf in Iran to Rozanak station in Afghanistan and the rest of the railway to Herat had yet to be completed.

Amid the political changes in Afghanistan, parts of the railway as well as Rozanak station in the country were subject to robbery and underwent damages. But the project was completed over last year and the first Iranian cargo train arrived in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

The railway project, which is seen as part of a puzzle connecting different regional countries, began in 2007.

Khaf-Herat railway is also part of a major 2,000-kilometer-long East-West railroad running through China, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Turkey to Europe.  

It will also provide the landlocked Afghanistan with access to the high seas via Iranian ports in northern country.

President of the Union of Chambers and Community Exchanges of Turkiye (TOBB) says cooperation with Iran private sector will continue in all areas.

Rifat Hisarciklioglu made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to his newly-elected President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Hossein Selahvarzi.

He said that TOBB is always keen on working for the enhancement of the commercial and economic cooperation between the business communities of Iran and Turkiye and the whole region.

“I have no doubt that our very close cooperation with ICCIMA will continue in all platforms.”  

Selahvarzi was elected as new president of Iran Chamber of Commerce in a June 18 election by securing nearly two-thirds of the total votes cast.

Iran and Pakistan will start direct talks for a free trade deal in September, according to a senior Iranian trade official who says an agreement may be possible until the end of the Iranian calendar year in March 2024.

“If we can agree on free trade with this country this (calendar) year, it will be a major accomplishment,” Hadi Talebian, who leads South Asia Department at Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO), said on Tuesday.

Talebian said that a free trade deal with Pakistan will have its own complications because the balance of trade between the two countries is largely in Iran’s favor.

He said, however, that such a deal will contain “special arrangements” and will be much beneficial to Iran than a barter mechanism proposed by some businesses and government officials in Iran and Pakistan.

Iran is currently in a preferential trade agreement with Pakistan under which the two countries have reduced tariffs on exports and imports of certain commodities.

The two countries have also defined a strategy to launch six major border markets to allow free trade between people living along their frontiers.

Earlier in June, Pakistan issued an order allowing barter trade with Iran, Russia and Afghanistan for certain goods, including petroleum and natural gas.

TPO figures show annual trade between Iran and Pakistan reached nearly $2.4 billion in year to March of which some 1.8 billion were Iran’s exports to Pakistan.

The Iranian government agency expects bilateral trade with Pakistan to increase by up to 20% in the year to March 2025.

ECO Customs Cooperation Council (ECO-CCC) convened in Turkey where participants underlined the need for easing customs relations among member countries as well as the necessity of fight against smuggling.  

They also stressed the significance of electronic trade and extra-territorial trade to further facilitate exchanges and reduce trade costs among member countries.

Sama Farkhondehnejad, who represented Iran Chamber of Commerce in the council meeting, said that the private sector viewpoints for reducing customs tariffs have to be taken into consideration.

She also highlighted the role of electronic exchange of the data as another mechanism to help facilitate trade and increase commercial and transit exchanges.

Taking pre-emptive measures to prevent customs violations and adopting plans to facilitate trade and protect people in the face of the dangers of extra-territorial trade were among other issues discussed in the meeting.

ECO Customs Cooperation Council (ECO-CCC) convened in Turkey where participants underlined the need for easing customs relations among member countries as well as the necessity of fight against smuggling.  

They also stressed the significance of electronic trade and extra-territorial trade to further facilitate exchanges and reduce trade costs among member countries.

Sama Farkhondehnejad, who represented Iran Chamber of Commerce in the council meeting, said that the private sector viewpoints for reducing customs tariffs have to be taken into consideration.

She also highlighted the role of electronic exchange of the data as another mechanism to help facilitate trade and increase commercial and transit exchanges.

Taking pre-emptive measures to prevent customs violations and adopting plans to facilitate trade and protect people in the face of the dangers of extra-territorial trade were among other issues discussed in the meeting.

President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) has underlined the need for forming an industrial committee with Uzbekistan to prioritize projects for investment.

Speaking at an Iran-Uzbekistan Trade Forum in Tehran on Saturday, Gholam Hossein Shafei said that making use of potential capacities can ensure long-term relations between the two countries.

He said that Iran’s primary goal is to increase the current $400 million trade with Uzbekistan to $1 billion by yearend.

Shafei noted that Iran’s relations with Uzbekistan have been hindered by some problems including transportation problems, especially the lack of proper rail transportation.  

The Iran Chamber of Commerce president also said that the Iranian private sector welcomes joint investments in the areas of oil and gas, petrochemicals, renewable energies, water projects, power plant industry, transportation, agriculture, automaking and tourism.

Speaking in the meantime, Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of Uzbekistan Laziz Kudratov noted that the volume of trade between Iran and Uzbekistan has tripled over the past three years.

He, however, said that the annual trade exchanges between the two countries can grow to $1 billion.

The minister underlined the significance of signing a preferential trade agreement between Tehran and Tashkent.   

Kudratov called on Iranian pharmaceutical, agricultural and mining companies to make investments in his country.

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Abbas Aliabadi, who was also present at the meeting, underlined the need for both Iran and Uzbekistan to prepare a list of items for preferential trade between the two nations.

Aliabadi voiced Iran’s readiness to engage in trade with Uzbekistan in different areas including, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, high-tech industries, mining and tourism.

Head of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce Mehrdad Saadat urged the Iranian government to leave trade with Turkey to the private sector.

He was addressing a conference in the headquarters of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) in Tehran on Sunday where bilateral trade between Iran and Turkey was reviewed.

Referring to Iran’s potential for making $15 billion trade with Turkey, Saadat said that although Iran’s exports to Turkey are on the rise, it is not satisfactory yet.

Noting that the government cannot be a good merchant, he called on the government to provide support for the private sector.

85% of Turkey’s economy is being handled by the private sector and their businesspeople are more inclined to get engaged in interactions with Iranian private sector while the ground is not prepared enough for the partnership of Iranian private sector actors, he said.   

Saadat also urged the need for activating preferential trade between Iran and Turkey as soon as possible.

Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) stands ready to sign an agreement with the ECO secretariat on tourism cooperation, according to Niloofar Assadi, the caretaker of ICCIMA International Affairs.

Assadi made the remarks during a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday with Jasur Rajabov, Director for Tourism of the ECO Secretariat.

She also said that Iran Chamber of Commerce will host a meeting of ECO Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ECO-CCI) in the near future.

The ECO official, for his part, referred to holding a ministerial meeting of ECO member countries in Ardebil, northwestern Iran, in October 2023, calling on Iran to hold specialized tourism committee sessions ahead of the October meeting.   

Rajabov also said that a meeting of ECO tour operators is scheduled to be held on July 3 which will focus on solving the problems on the way of money transfer, visa issuance and transportation in this region.

The participants will also discuss offering tourist packages and charter flights between ECO tourist destinations, he said.  

Speaking in the meantime, Sama Farkhondeh Nejad, the director of Europe Department of ICCIMA International Affairs, called for further cooperation in exchange of information, and holding seasonal meetings as well as B2B meetings between the private sectors and tourism actors of ECO member countries.

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