|Russia-Iran trade hampered by Iranian complicated laws||
Iran’s ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei believes it’s time to start a new chapter in Iranian-Russian relations. It’s impossible to plan long-term relations in the modern world without strengthening economic ties, Sanaei said, addressing a conference at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
"Unfortunately, our economic ties are decreasing. That doesn’t meet our countries’ interests," the ambassador said.
Indeed, bilateral trade dropped from $2.33 billion in 2012 to $1.59 billion last year, a meager amount, considering the two countries’ economic potential. Why so?
Naturally, bilateral trade is hampered by the existing international sanctions against Iran. Though not affecting Russia’s interests in Iran directly (except for Resolution 1929 restricting military-technical cooperation and payment transactions with Tehran), the sanctions create an unfriendly atmosphere for business and investment. The Iranian laws aren’t investment-friendly either. And the multi-layered Iranian bureaucracy, especially the medium-to-lower echelons, is actually nonfunctional. Fearing the allegedly insurmountable bureaucratic barriers, Russian businessmen are reluctant to go into Iran.
Assistant Director of the Tehran-based Institute of Iran Eurasian Studies Mandana Tishyar acknowledged problems in bilateral trade.
"The formation of the Hassan Rouhani government marked a new chapter in Iranian-Russian relations. Business circles on both sides are eager to establish new ties. But they are running into difficulties caused by the international sanctions… There are some other problems as well. It should be admitted that Iranian businessmen know little about the laws and business rules in Russia. Nor are Russian partners familiar with the Iranian legislation, often unjustifiably tough. That overcomplicates trade, especially in light of the weakening banking ties between Iran and Russia as a result of international sanctions. Both countries should revise and facilitate their legislations to clear the way for more intensive bilateral relations. Apart from deep knowledge about each other’s markets, one needs to know more about the culture, language, life and morals of one’s partners. Therefore, it is necessary to promote permanent and versatile contacts not just between officials but also between public figures, scholars, students and businessmen," she said.
Doing business in Iran requires of a foreign investor to thoroughly study the numerous laws and rules that are often beyond the comprehension of a non-Iranian. Perhaps, Tehran should meet the investors halfway by facilitating that task.
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