Domestic Economy

Call for Closer Iran-Turkmen Private Sector Cooperation

Call for Closer Iran-Turkmen Private Sector CooperationCall for Closer Iran-Turkmen Private Sector Cooperation

Head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Mine, Industries and Agriculture, Gholam-Hossein Shafei, said on Saturday that President Hassan Rouhani’s official trip to Turkmenistan marked a new era in supporting the private sector in both Iran and Turkmenistan.

“It is for the first time in 20 years that high ranking Iranian and Turkmen officials are calling for collaboration between the private sectors of the two sides,” said Shafei, in an address to the so-called “Iran-Turkmenistan Businessmen Conference” held in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat.

Referring to the Turkmen government’ s plans ahead of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which is slated to be held in Ashgabat in 2017, Shafei said: “The government of Turkmenistan has allocated $5 billion to develop the infrastructure in the run-up to the tournament.  It is an opportunity for Iranian companies to share their experience and expertise and export much-needed technical and engineering services to Turkmenistan.”

Calling on Iranian businesses to promote Iranian products in the Turkmen market, he said Iranian products including cars, agricultural machinery, pipe and electronic equipment are among the commodities that can be exported to the neighboring country.

He also called for the establishment of a “trade council” between the two countries, which he said should be tasked to remove the existing hurdles on the way of bilateral trade.

“Traders from both sides are faced with numerous problems such as visa requirement and low speed of railway transportation.”  

  $3.7b Trade

Speaking at the same conference, Minister of Economy and Development of Turkmenistan Vepa Abdylhekimov said that Iran-Turkmenistan trade exceeded $3.7 billion in 2014, noting that presently, 88 agricultural and transportation projects in Turkmenistan are being implemented by Iranian companies.

He expressed hope that bilateral relations would soon extend to include other areas of economic activities, especially the tourism industry.

Heading a high-ranking delegation including four ministers and a vice-president, Rouhani paid a two-day official visit to Ashgabat last week at the invitation of his Turkmen counterpart. On Wednesday, Rouhani described the two-way relations as “much better than before”; however he stressed that bilateral ties should develop further.

During the visit, 17 agreements were signed by the two presidents in various economic, cultural, and environmental fields.

 “Agreements reached in this trip will undoubtedly help improve bilateral relations,” Rouhani said .