By Mahnaz Abdi

‘Armenian market a special opportunity for Iranian SMEs’

July 17, 2021 - 17:10

TEHRAN- The Armenian market is a special opportunity for Iranian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially in the field of foodstuff and home appliances, according to Iran’s deputy industry, mining, and trade minister.

Ali Rasoulian, who is also the head of Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization (ISIPO), made the remarks on Friday while referring to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that his organization signed on Thursday with Armenia’s Investor Support Center for cooperation in various areas, including the establishment of joint industrial parks in border areas.

Iran-Armenia economic relations have been growing noticeably over the past three decades.

It has always been said that the two neighbors’ trade relations have many capacities and facilities, which is an indisputable fact.

The economic and trade ties between the two sides have been even more cemented after Iran signed a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in October 2018 based on which about 862 commodity items were subjected to preferential tariffs.

The interim agreement enabling the formation of a free trade area between Iran and the EAEU was signed on May 17, 2018, and officially came into force on October 27, 2019.

Iran is a very important market in the region and the development of ties with this country is of high significance for the EAEU members (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan).

The free trade agreement between Iran and this union has laid the ground for the expansion of trade ties between the two sides.

Among the EAEU member states, the neighbor Armenia is of special significance for Iran to expand bilateral trade relation with, as Iran is now seriously pursuing the policy of boosting trade with the neighboring countries as a strong strategy to nullify the U.S. sanctions.

According to the Head of Iran-Armenia Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hervik Yarijanian, the preferential trade agreement between Iran and EAEU has had a significant impact on the country’s trade relations with Armenia.

According to the official, the volume of trade between the two countries has witnessed an outstanding rise since the agreement became effective.

Iran mainly imports red meat from Armenia, while Armenia imports polymer raw materials, machinery, industrial gases, manufactured artifacts, leather and leather goods from Iran, he said.

Iran considers Armenia as a gateway to international markets, as the country offers many opportunities for the expansion of trade with the EAEU as well as Europe.

Armenia is the first country to connect Iran to the Eurasian region. This condition alone can increase trade between the two countries so that Iran can use the territory of Armenia as a gateway to other countries.

This proper ground is also an opportunity for the Iranian SMEs to expand trade activities.

The recent MOU signed between Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization (ISIPO) and Armenia’s Investor Support Center is a good step in this due.

The development of bilateral cooperation, offering appropriate solutions for resolving trade issues, promotion and improvement of mutual investment and creation of an operational framework to strengthen and develop stronger trade relations between the two countries were reported to be the main goals of the mentioned MOU.

During the online signing ceremony of the MOU, which was attended by senior officials from the two sides including the ISIPO Head Ali Rasoulian and Armenian Ambassador to Iran Artashes Toumanian, Rasoulian expressed hope that considering the expansion of economic and industrial cooperation between Iran and Armenia, the two countries will take serious measures for promoting SMEs and for the establishment of joint industrial parks.

During his visit to Armenian last year, Rasoulian had met the Armenian economy minister, and had announced ISIPO’s readiness to locate, design and build industrial parks in Armenia.

Meanwhile, Iran held its first exhibition of its production an industrial capabilities in Yerevan two months ago.

All such measures provide good opportunities for the activity of Iranian SMEs.

Armenia’s industry sector is in need of help, and Iran can take advantage of this opportunity in the best way.

As the ISIPO head says, “Opportunities must be used on time, because if we do not take advantage of opportunities on time, other countries and competitors will replace us in this neighboring country.”

Iran plans to provide conditions for the presence of Iranian companies, especially small and medium enterprises that can compete in the Armenian market, in that country in a way that besides gaining a noticeable share of that market and having permanent presence in that country, they will enter other global markets through Armenia.

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