Iran, Uzbekistan negotiate establishment of joint free zone

April 28, 2023 - 13:40

TEHRAN- The secretary of Iran’s Free Zones High Council negotiated with the officials of the free trade and special economic zones of Uzbekistan about the establishment of a joint free zone between the two countries, during a two-day visit to Tashkent.

As reported, Hojatollah Abdolmaleki participated in the international investment meeting of Uzbekistan, which was held in the presence of the president and other high-ranking officials of this country and heads of international and regional financial organizations and institutions.

By visiting several free and special zones of Uzbekistan, the Iranian official discussed the benefit and use of joint capacities and opportunities for investment and trade between the two countries

Two weeks ago, Abdolmaleki announced that Iran is negotiating with 17 countries for the establishment of joint free zones and said by setting up these free zones, trade and investment will be facilitated.

He named Russia as one of the countries in this due.

In mid-March, the deputy head of the Free Zones High Council said that Iran and Iraq have reached an agreement to form a joint free trade zone on the border of the two countries in the near future.

According to Ahmad Jamali, the decision for establishing the mentioned zone was made during the two countries’ fifth Joint Economic Committee meeting in Baghdad.

Underlining the fact that three of Iran’s major free zones are located near the Iraqi border, Jamali noted that along with the joint zone, these four free trade zones can play a significant role in boosting the trade exchanges between the two countries.

The establishment of free trade zones (FTZs) 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 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. 

The development of existing free trade zones and the establishment of new FTZs has become one of the major economic approaches of the Iranian government.

In last December, the secretary of the Free Zones High Council said that this council is seeking to modify the country’s free trade zones (FTZ) comprehensive law.

Speaking in a TV program, Abdolmaleki said, “The good news for the entrepreneurs of the regions, both the current ones and those who, God willing, will soon join us, is that we are looking for the modification of the so-called comprehensive law.”

“The free zones have been relatively successful, although they also had failures; What is our main goal is to guide the free zones to that main path and those goals that are considered in the resistance economy that are the increase of exports and foreign investment and the transfer of technology and also meeting the country's needs”, the official stated.

“We follow two approaches or two general strategies in the new period of management in the free zones. Our first approach is to popularize the free zones and our second approach is to globalize these zones”, he added.


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