Domestic Economy

Iran to Establish Trade Center, Permanent Exhibition in Afghanistan

Iran to Establish Trade Center, Permanent Exhibition in Afghanistan
Iran to Establish Trade Center, Permanent Exhibition in Afghanistan

The embassy of Iran in Kabul said that Tehran is seeking to establish a permanent exhibition and a trade center in Afghanistan, TOLOnews reported.
The officials of the embassy said that the establishment of this center will benefit trade between Iran and Afghanistan.
“The next step is to establish a trade center and permanent exhibition of Iran in Kabul which will be inaugurated soon--within one month,” said Sayed Abas Badrifar, press director of Iran's embassy in Kabul.
This comes as the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment said that traders are facing problems in the export of commodities to Iran and that the establishment of this center will help the traders.
“If the trade center is built, it benefits our traders. Its plans and responsibilities must be clarified, particularly there should be facilities for our trade and export,” said Khanjan Alokozai, a member of the ACCI.
This comes as some traders complained that the export to Iran has dropped and that their main problem is an increase in tariffs.
“The main reason for the reduction of our exports is lack of marketing for products from Afghanistan,” said Mahbobullah Mohammadi, an Afghan trader.
The embassy of Iran also vowed to facilitate the issuance of visas for traders.
Earlier, the World Bank reported that it provided Afghanistan imported commodities worth nearly $3 billion between January and June, with 23 percent of this from Iran.
As Khaama Press reported, Afghan officials have said that the volume of imports from Iran, such as food and fuel, has totaled more than $1 billion so far this year (March 2021-22). Whereas, Afghanistan’s export volume to Iran was much lower and totaled only $20.
Iran is one of the few countries which maintained close ties with Afghanistan’s Taliban regime. Since the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, Iran has continued trading with Afghanistan, kept issuing visas to Afghans, and continued delivering humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan during these difficult times.
With the US, Iran’s arch-rival and enemy gone, the situation is perfectly suitable for Iran to strengthen its economic and political relations with the Taliban, exploit the country’s resources, and turn Afghanistan into a lucrative market for its products and commercial goods.  
Prior to this, Iranian business officials had visited Afghanistan and met with the Taliban authorities aimed at discussing potential investment in the war-torn country. Despite all the odds, Afghanistan can still become a potential business hub for Iran.
Meanwhile, Taliban authorities are desperately looking for potential foreign investments as the country is going through the worst economic, humanitarian, and power crises.
The Iranian ambassador in Kabul says that the current situation is the best opportunity to invest in Afghanistan’s mining sector.
“Now is the best opportunity to invest in Afghanistan’s mines, and we inspire Iranian investors to invest in Afghanistan,” Kazemi Qomi was quoted by Bakhtar News Agency as saying recently.
Cooperation with Afghanistan in various sectors is on the agenda of his country as one of Iran’s main strategies, based on a humanitarian and moral-Islamic view and securing economic benefits, he added.
He spoke about the importance of the steel industry in his country, added that there is no better country than Afghanistan in the field of mining for Iran.
“Afghanistan is a close country for Iran in terms of carrying out economic activities and transferring knowledge and technology, as far there is good diplomatic ties, between two neighboring countries.”
He noted that currently part of Iran’s basic goods needs are supplied through imports from distant countries such as Australia, Brazil, and Latin American countries, while Iran can utilize Afghanistan.
In a meeting with several Iranian investors, Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum asked them to invest in Afghanistan’s mining sector.



Iran Resumes Issuing Tourist Visas to Afghans in Herat

The Iranian Consulate in the western province of Herat has resumed issuing tourist visas to Afghans, according to a statement by the consulate, Amu TV reported on Friday.
The consulate said they had reached an agreement with Taliban officials, allowing agencies under the Iranian consulate to process tourist visas for Afghans.
People who need Iranian visas should submit their visa application to one of Iran’s approved tourism companies.
Previously, applicants could easily register for a visa via an online portal provided by the Iranian Foreign Ministry or could proceed with their visa application through all companies that provided pilgrim and tourism services in their relevant provinces.
But now tourism companies approved by the Iranian consulate charge 350 Afs ($3.3) for each visa application for their services which was 150 Afghani ($1.67) in the past. Moreover, the visa fee has also increased from 7,500 Afs ($83.37) to 8,350 Afs ($92.82).
The Iranian consulate has authorized three tourism companies to provide Iran visa processing services in Herat province. Meanwhile, 311 other tourism companies, where nearly 1,000 people were working, are on the verge of collapse as a number of their owners explained.
The owners of the companies called on Iranian officials to reverse their decision.
“Many tourism services providers have stopped their operations. Only those approved are getting applicants. If these companies belong to consulates, why do they charge people for registration?” asked Haidari.
Residents of western provinces welcomed the resumption of Iran’s visa issuance and said part of their problems would be resolved.
“People face many problems. Some are sick, some are in dire need of visas in order to go and to seek jobs in Iran and find food for their families,” said Ahmad Shah, a resident of Herat.
A number of people who have applied for a visa via the approved agencies raised their concerns over their “poor services.”
“I have been waiting for three days, people are making a lot of noise and the Taliban are beating them and they are not taking care of people’s problems. We request them to issue visas to the people and let them register in more places so that their problems are solved,” said Fraidoon, a resident of Herat.
“There is a need for some rules to be put in place to address people’s problems,” said Mohammad, a resident of the Shindand district in Herat.
A Taliban official in Herat said that certain companies have been authorized to process visa applications for the Iran consulate.
“Iran consulate’s official agents are present at the places allocated for registering passports are the official consular agents of Iran,” said Naeem-ul-Haq Haqqani, head of the Taliban’s information and culture directorate in Herat.
Meanwhile, the Taliban official said efforts are underway to address the problem of the people who have lost their jobs after the decision.

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