Domestic Economy

Georgia Seen as Iran’s Gateway to Europe

Georgia Seen as Iran’s Gateway to Europe
Georgia Seen as Iran’s Gateway to Europe

Tehran and Tbilisi plan to target their economic cooperation towards entering Europe’s markets, it was announced during the recent visit to Georgia by an Iranian trade delegation, headed by top officials from the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.

Two Georgian deputy agriculture ministers hosted the Iranian delegation and praised Iran’s potential and experience in livestock and farming and expressed interest to sign an agreement under which the two countries can cooperate on exchanging new technologies. In particular, Georgia is interested in utilizing Iranian expertise in horticulture.

In the meeting, Yahya Al-e Es’haq, the chairman of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture said. The combination of Georgia’s fertile lands and water resources, Iranian expertise and technology as well as the relatively short distance between the two countries – they have only Armenia in separating them -- can be the source of broad bilateral cooperation, he said. Iranian private sector also has the potential to invest in areas including irrigation, food and processing industries and dispatch experts to Georgia in that regard.

Al-e Es’haq highlighted Iran’s diverse climatic conditions and the growing need for the import of various crops including wheat, soya and corn for the country and said, “All these crops can be planted in Georgia and exported to Iran. In the long run, a sustainable growth in Georgia’s agriculture can be achieved through the use of Iranian expertise and farming machinery.” In the meantime, he considered it “much easier” to export Iranian food products to Europe, the US and Russia via Georgia considering more simple customs procedures in the Caucasus state. “Together, Iran and Georgia can export many products to these large markets”, he added.

  Water Transfer Talks

“Water transfer to Iran especially to northern parts of the country, for instance Lake Urmia, is another proposal that can be the subject of discussion between Iran and Georgia,” Georgian minister of infrastructure said in a separate meeting with the Iranian trade delegation in Tbilisi.

He praised Iranian expertise in construction of dams and powerhouses and called on Tehran to cooperate with Tbilisi in these areas.

Al-Es’haq also considered Georgia’s recent efforts to join the European Union as a unique opportunity for both countries – a move that can provide a platform for further cooperation in many areas, including food industry.

In this meeting, the two sides emphasized the importance of increasing bilateral trade, which currently stands at $190 million. The number is expected to rise to $300 million by the end of the year (March 21, 2015). In this respect, Al-Es’haq asserted that economic cooperation between Iran and Georgia should not be limited to customary trade, and should expand to joint infrastructure construction projects.