‘Private sectors of Iran, Belarus have significant capacities for co-op’

April 30, 2023 - 14:15

TEHRAN- The head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) said that the private sectors of Iran and Belarus have significant capacities for cooperation.

Gholam-Hossein Shafeie made the remarks in a meeting with Belarusian Ambassador to Tehran Dmitry Koltsov at the place of ICCIMA on Sunday.

The ICCIMA head described the cooperation capacities of the private sectors of the two countries, especially in the field of technical and engineering services, agriculture, and tripartite cooperation with neighbors as significant and a necessity for the development of bilateral relations.

Referring to the positive economic interactions between Iran and Belarus in the past years, Shafeie said Belarus is one of Iran's priorities in establishing business relations. Because this country has had a favorable economic situation and GDP growth in the past years, and the existing capacities of the country can help in the development of bilateral cooperation.

The Belarusian ambassador for his part said that Iran and Belarus have long-standing relations, and in recent years, delegations have been exchanged at different levels between the two countries.

He considered transportation to be one of the primary and important fields in Iran-Belarus trade relations.

The envoy further said Khorasan Razavi province (in the northeast of Iran) has considerable capacity in this field due to its geographical location. This province has good potential in the field of machine building, agricultural equipment, food industry, and electronic devices.

Back in mid-March, Iran and Belarus signed a comprehensive cooperation roadmap and seven memorandums of understanding (MOU) as Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko made a visit to Tehran.

The cooperation roadmap and MOUs include various commercial, transportation, agricultural and cultural fields.

The roadmap was signed by the presidents of the two countries, while the MOUs were inked by senior officials from the two sides.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart after signing the document, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said: "Good agreements were made in the field of industry, mining, trade, agriculture, roads and various fields, and we hope that it will be a step towards the development of the two countries."

Referring to the determination of Iran and Belarus to develop relations in all fields, Raisi said: "Both countries are against unilateralism. We believe that independent countries can have good relations with each other which lead to the neutralization of sanctions."

Lukashenko, for his part, pointed to his last visit to Iran in 2006 and said that no sanctions or pressures have been able to stop the Iranian nation from progressing, and it is a fact that an independent and strong Iran is continuing its path.

Referring to the MOUs between the two countries, Lukashenko noted that if all these MOUs are implemented, the two countries can achieve $100 million of annual trade. 

"The volume of trade between the two countries tripled in 2022 compared to 2021," he noted.

The Belarusian president expressed hope that the implementation of the comprehensive cooperation roadmap will help develop the relations between the two countries even more.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Lukashenko visited Tehran for a two-day official visit. The trip was aimed to expand ties between the two countries.

As part of the Belarusian delegation’s schedule in Tehran, the country’s Minister of Industry Rogozhnik Alexander Nikolaevich met with Iranian Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Reza Fatemi-Amin to discuss ways of developing mutual ties. 

During the meeting with Nikolaevich, who was accompanied by a group of industrial officials, Fatemi-Amin referred to the cooperation of the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI) with its Belarusian counterpart and also an agreement between banks of the two countries, emphasizing that the infrastructure needed for the development of trade between the two countries has been created.

He stated that an agreement on the possibility of barter trade between the two countries is also going to be signed soon, adding: “With the full accession of Iran to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in less than a year from now 80 percent of the tariffs between the two countries will be zeroed.

The minister further invited Nikolaevich and his team to visit the exhibition of Iran's export capabilities, which will be held with the presence of ministers and trade delegations from more than 50 countries in Tehran on May 7-10.

Nikolaevich in his turn said Belarus pays special attention to the expansion of trade relations with Iran.

“In the days when both countries have been subjected to heavy and cruel sanctions, we must make a double effort to defeat the sanctions,” Nikolaevich suggested.

Stating that with Iran's joining the EAEU, many issues in the field of transportation will be resolved, he emphasized: “Our goal is for Iranian products to flourish in the Belarusian market and Belarusian products to enter the Iranian market.”

In his joint press conference with the Belarusian leader after a meeting at the Saadabad Palace, Raisi asserted that the Islamic Republic has capitalized on the threat of unilateral sanctions as a chance to advance significantly.

“Iran has benefited from the sanctions put on the country, and we have achieved remarkable advances despite the threats,” Raisi said. 

He added, “We are eager to share our experiences with our good friend Belarus.”

Raisi also said the only way to overcome sanctions and advance is mutual opposition to unilateralism.

Lukashenko, for his part, stated that “Iran is flourishing and Iran keeps growing despite sanctions and pressure. The signing of several documents today can result in a 100 million dollars increase in commerce between the two nations if they are fully implemented.”

The president of Belarus continued, “Sanctions are opportunities, and two nations should not lose these possibilities.”

He remarked that both nations have a desire for a fair and multipolar world and that their stances on international and regional issues are comparable.


Photo: ICCIMA Head Gholam-Hossein Shafeie (L) and Belarusian Ambassador to Tehran Dmitry Koltsov 

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