|Nakhchivan planning to raise economic co-op with Iran||
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic intended to increase its economic cooperation with Iran.
Nakhchivan is one of Azerbaijan's region which has been under a blockade over the last 20 years due to the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories.
"In previous years, the connection between Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Iran were at a good level, but this level was not satisfactory. Now Nakhchivan is ready to increase economic cooperation with Iran," Minister of Economic Development of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic said.
Famil Seyidov made the remarks during a meeting with the Director of the Free Economic Zone "Aras" Mohsen Khadem Arabbagi on June 13, IRNA news agency reported.
Seyidov noted that the reality on the ground does not correspond with the potential of bilateral relations.
He said there are certain obstacles in the way of development of trade relations, but they are mostly related to customs issues which should be eliminated.
Seyidov noted the need for major work on the development of trade relations and added 450 companies are operating in Nakhchivan.
Arabbagi, in turn, said the two sides' capabilities and resources should be used for joint investments.
He stressed that Azerbaijanis have always been among successful countries in terms of economy and trade, noting that some sets of appropriate grounds have been developed for investment in the Free Economic Zone "Aras".
Arabbagi added that one of the major obstacles is the need for Iranian citizens to get a visa to travel to Nakhchivan.
In late May, Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pakayin said the procedure for visiting Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic will be facilitated for Iranian citizens.
He said an agreement on this issue was reached at a meeting with Chairman of the NAR Supreme Majlis Vasif Talibov.
Arabbagi further noted that Iran has achieved good results in the production of industrial equipment, and the Nakhchivan producers and investors can take advantage of this potential.
The delegation headed by Seyidov visited the Free Economic Zone "Aras" and got acquainted with the conditions there.
Azerbaijan and Iran have had diplomatic relations since 1918. Iran recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992.
Data from the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan shows that trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $281.03 million in 2013, which is 6.13 percent higher than 2012. The figure stood at $263.785 million in 2012.
Iran imported $73.347 million worth of goods from Azerbaijan in 2013, while its exports to Azerbaijan stood at $207.683 million during the same period.
Iran's trade turnover with Azerbaijan in the first eleven months of 2013stood at $470 million ($448 million exports and $22 million imports), Iran's customs administration's latest report shows.
The statistics of Iran's customs administration are based on the official rate of rial/USD which is different from the free market rate.
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