FTZ’s trade balance positive for 3 consecutive years

July 19, 2021 - 13:20

TEHRAN – The secretary of the Iranian Free Zones High Council says the trade balance of the country’s free trade zones (FTZs) and special economic zones has been positive over the past three years.

“With the measures taken for the promotion of exports in the country, the trade balance of the free trade and special economic zones has become positive over the past three years,” Hamidreza Mo'meni said.

Speaking at a meeting of Bushehr free trade zone’s strategic council, Mo’meni said: “However, there are still weaknesses in the first and second generation of the country’s free trade and special economic zones, which we will try to minimize by improving the infrastructure in these zones.”

The official noted that the country’s free trade zones lack a comprehensive development plan which means the managers of each zone act based on their own preferences.

Exports, transfer of technical knowledge, attracting domestic and foreign investment, and creating sustainable employment are among the expectations from free trade zones, and in order to prepare a comprehensive plan for the development of free zones, these issues should be considered for the next 50 years.

Noting that Bushehr free trade zone will be officially inaugurated by President Hassan Rouhani in near future, he expressed hope that this free trade zone can play a positive role in boosting trade with the country’s southern neighbors.

Earlier this month, Mo'meni had announced that some new free trade zones are planned to be set up in the country in the current Iranian calendar year (ends on March 20, 2022).

“If we can settle the subject of the comprehensive plans of these zones, I think by the end of this year, the new free zones will be added to the existing ones,” he said on July 12.

The establishment of free trade zones in Iran dates back to the Iranian calendar year 1368 (March 1989- March 1990) following the fall in the country’s oil income in the preceding year which prompted the government to promote the non-oil exports.

The first two free trade zones of Iran were established in the south of the country. The first one was Kish Free Trade Zone established in 1368 on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf and the second one was Qeshm Free Trade Zone established the year after on Qeshm Island in the Strait of Hormuz.

Some five other free trade zones have been also established in the country since then, including Chabahar in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Arvand in southwestern Khuzestan Province, Anzali in northern Gilan Province, Aras in East-Azarbaijan Province, and Maku in West-Azarbaijan Province, both in the northwest of the country.

While near three decades have passed since the start of free trade zones activity in Iran, their planned objectives have not been fully achieved and their development is still facing some impediments.  

Lack of proportion between the facilities and the objectives, lack of a national definition for free trade zones’ performance, limited resources for establishment and completion of infrastructures, no comprehensive management between the zones, and not complete implementation of zones management law are some of the barriers in the way of free trade zones’ activity and development in the country.


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