Belgium, Iran Ink Customs Cooperation Agreement

April 27, 2002 - 0:0
BRUSSELS -- Belgium and the Islamic Republic of Iran signed a customs cooperation agreement in Brussels Friday.

The agreement was signed for the Iranian side by Masoud Karbasian Deputy Minister for Economy and Finance and for Belgium by Finance Minister Didier Reynders.

''It is a very important agreement to start with. It will open up contacts between Belgium and Iran not only on the economic side but will also contribute in promoting political ties,'' Reynders told IRNA after the signing ceremony.

''I am very pleased to have signed the agreement today and to see that Iran's cooperation with Belgium is opening up and through Beligum with the European Union,'' he added.

On his part, Karbasian said Belgian-Iranian customs relations go back to 105 years, when a Belgian official visited Iran to discuss customs administration.

''This agreement will contribute in boosting economic relations between the two countries and also the fight against narcotics smuggling,'' said Karbasian, who is also the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA).

He noted that Iran is an important transit route for Central Asian countries and Afghanistan and Belgium could make use of this route for promoting its trade in the region.

Karbasian said Belgium can be an important transit route for Iranian trade with the Europe.

Reynders accepted an invitation by Karbasian to pay an official visit to the Islamic Republic.

Iran has signed similar customs cooperation agreement with two other EU member states, Austria and Greece, during Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's recent visit to Vienna and Athens.

The agreement includes exchange of information to fight drug trafficking, smuggling of goods and grant the right to customs officers of Belgium and Iran to take part in customs investigations in each other's country.

Further it includes exchange of information on tariffs, origin of goods and value of goods.

Later, Karbasian and Madeleine Doulliez, director general of Belgium's customs and excise administration, signed a memorandum of cooperation on a professional training program for customs officials.

A group of Iranian customs officials will visit Brussels later this year for training, while a group of Belgian customs officials will visit Tehran for the same purpose.