Annual exports from free trade, special economic zones hits $17b

June 21, 2020 - 15:33

TEHRAN- The value of exports from Iran’s free trade zones and special economic zones stood at $17 billion during the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 19), Secretary of Iranian Free Zones High Council Morteza Bank announced.

The official also said that commodities worth $5 billion produced in these zones have been sent to different areas in the country during the previous year, IRIB reported.

Bank further put the value of products imported to the free trade zones and special economic zones at $5 billion in the past year.

Emphasizing that the value of imports to these zones is very low compared to the worth of exports from them, the official said, “We are planning to reach the same level of exports in the current year as well.”

In terms of employment in the free trade zones and special economic zones, Bank said jobs have been created for 186,000 persons in these zones over the past seven years, and for 36,000 persons in the previous year.

The secretary of Free Zones High Council further mentioned the implementation of delayed projects as one of the major programs of this council and said, “We hope that we can put many production and service companies into operation by the yearend.”

Referring to the 310 development projects, which are planned to be implemented in the free zones in the current year, the official expressed hope that these projects will be put into operation by the yearend, creating jobs for 40,000 to 45,000 persons.

Considering the important role that the free zones play in promoting the country’s export and employment, Iran is seriously pursuing development of its existing free zones and establishment of new zones as well.

More development measures in this field have been taking since the U.S. re-imposition of sanctions on the Iranian economy in November 2018, as Iran is reducing its dependence on the oil income while elevating its domestic production and non-oil exports.

Although the sanctions have disrupted Iran’s economic activities, they could not impede the development of Iranian free zones; in fact, the development of these zones has been even accelerated.

Many strides made for increasing activities in the free zones have played a significant part in boosting the country’s non-oil exports and brought prosperity in the other economic sectors.

Infrastructure created for more investment making

The secretary of Free Zones High Council also said, “We have started the creation of some infrastructure for the production activities since the past year which will increase production and investment making in these zones.”

Development of the existing free zones and establishment of new zones is currently one of the major economic approaches of Iran and in a bid to attract more investments to these zones Iranian government offers various incentives to the investors.

Tax exemption is one of those incentives which has been offered for more than a decade to the investors in the free zones.

Such incentives have encouraged investment making in these zones.

Putting the value of investments made by the private sector in the free zones at 100 trillion rials (about $2.38 billion) plus $200 million in the past year, Bank expressed hope that the amount of private sector’s investment making in these zones will increase 50 percent in the current year.

He also said that investment making by the private sector in the free zones has risen 70 percent in the past year from its preceding year.

Free zones to materialize “Surge in Production”

Elsewhere in his remarks Bank mentioned “Surge in Production”, which is the motto of the current Iranian calendar year and said the Free Zones High Council has set up Surge in Production Headquarters and prepared the related bylaws regarding the free zones’ activities to materialize this motto.

Emphasizing the significance of elevating domestic production, the official said, “The government’s policies for boosting domestic production will lead to a reduction of imports, and we should increase investment making in domestic production.”

The government is encouraging investment making in the free zones by offering different incentives and supports these zones in different ways.

On May 13, First Vice-President Es'haq Jahangiri said the business units based in the country’s free trade zones can use the 500 trillion rials (about $11.9 billion) of facilities that the government is providing to compensate the economic damages of the coronavirus outbreak.

The official underlined the significance of the free zones in the country’s economy, saying the free zones have been established with the aim of becoming important centers of investment, production and employment in the country.

The first vice-president emphasized that the program prepared by the Secretariat of the Free Zones High Council for the implementation of 310 development and service projects in the country’s free zones by the Iranian calendar year of 1400 (starts on March 2021) must be seriously pursued.

He further mentioned 620 trillion rials (about $14.7 billion) of investment made in the mentioned projects and said: "The implementation of these projects will increase production and employment and will have a [positive] impact on the country's economy."

MA/MA

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