Domestic Economy

Plans to Launch Transcontinental Railroad, Corridor

Plans to Launch Transcontinental Railroad, CorridorPlans to Launch Transcontinental Railroad, Corridor

Iran is ready to connect its railroad network to Bulgaria through Turkey and plans on making the Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Bulgaria-Greece corridor operational.

The statement was made by Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi during the 18th session of Iran-Bulgaria Economic Commission in Tehran on Monday.

Akhoundi co-chairs the joint commission with Bulgaria’s Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Ivaylo Moskovski. The Bulgarian minister is leading a 60-member delegation to Tehran.

The Iranian minister said the current level of trade between the two countries is minimal and added that the two sides need to reconnect their banking systems, in view of the important role interbank ties play in improving economic interactions.

“To Iran, Bulgaria is a gateway to Europe, just as Iran is the European country’s gateway to the Persian Gulf, the Indian peninsula and Central Asia. It’s our hope to see the two countries’ cooperation increase following these meetings,” IRNA quoted Akhoundi as saying.

The Iranian minister also called for increasing the number of permits issued for Iranian trucks to cross Bulgaria from the current 2,000 to 5,000.

“To boost tourism industry, direct flights between Tehran and Sofia are expected to become operational,” he said.

Bulgaria is ready to cooperate with Iran in all economic segments, said the visiting European minister, adding that his country is willing to be a part of Iran-Europe corridor.

Moskovski called on bilateral cooperation with Iran in different fields, including transportation, energy, banking, telecommunications and tourism.

  Technological Cooperation

The cooperation of Iranian and Bulgarian private sectors in information and communications technology would pave the way for further relations in other sectors, said Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi in a separate meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart.

Referring to a seven-year hiatus in Iran and Bulgaria economic relations, Vaezi said resumption of banking ties and creation of transportation infrastructures can help the two sides lift their trade to an acceptable level.

Echoing the same remarks, Moskovski said, “I believe the two countries will forge close partnership in the near future.”

  PTA Proposed

Bulgaria can join Iran-China Silk Road revival project and serve as the gateway to Europe, said Iran’s deputy minister of industries, mining and trade, Valiollah Afkhamirad, in a separate meeting with Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Economy Lyuben Petrov.

Underlying the fact that Iran is willing to set up joint ventures with the European countries, including Bulgaria, Afkhamirad called on Bulgaria to view Iran as a center for production and export to the regional countries.

“Iranians have made major breakthroughs in different industries such as electricity generation, road and dam construction and technical engineering services. Therefore, we are willing to cooperate with Bulgarians in these fields,” he added.

Afkhamirad also floated the idea of a preferential trade agreement between the two countries and called for accelerating visa procedure for the traders.

“Bulgaria’s exports to Iran accounted for 75% of the $50-million economic exchanges between the two countries in the nine months ending December 21, 2015. This insignificant figure needs to be improved,” he said.

“Compared to other member states of the European Union, Bulgaria receives lower taxes from foreign investors. Therefore, we invite Iranians to invest in our country.”

Petrov added that the Bulgarian government lends it support to joint innovations that serve the interests of the two nations.

The joint commission will run through Wednesday.