Economy, Business And Markets

Chinese Bank, Insurer to Open Qeshm Branch

Chinese Bank, Insurer to Open Qeshm Branch
Chinese Bank, Insurer to Open Qeshm Branch

A Chinese bank and insurance firm will start operation in Qeshm Free Trade Zone, Hamidreza Momeni, managing director of Qeshm Free Trade Zone said on Sunday.

“During President Xi Jinping’s visit  to Iran, the two countries signed an agreement to expand cooperation between Qeshm Free Trade Zone and Guangdong Province in China and that includes launching a bank and insurance company in the Persian Gulf island,” ILNA quoted him as saying.

The official added that China is not the only country interested in opening banks in Qeshm, “We have received proposals from Japan and France as well.”

According to Central Bank of Iran, foreigners are allowed to own up to 40% of bank shares in the mainland while in the free trade zones they can open banks with 100% ownership.

As per law, foreigners can also establish insurance companies or buy the total shares of other companies in the free zones. However, in the mainland they can buy maximum up to 40% of insurance companies’ shares.

Momeni did not elaborate on the details of the foreign bank and insurance companies interested to set up shop in Qeshm. FTZ’s public relations office did not comment on Tuesday.  

Banking and insurance agreements were among the key agreements with the Chinese according to the official, though “the Chinese are also keen on investing in construction of the Persian Gulf bridge.” The planned bridge is a 2.2-kilometer long road-rail bridge stretching from Laft port in Qeshm Island to Pehel port in the suburbs of the city of Khamir in southern Hormozgan Province. It will accommodate a two-way road, a railroad and a 22-meter wide pathway.

“There were also talks on improving tourism cooperation between the two countries,” Momeni said, adding that travel agencies in Iran and China will launch a joint company for tourist exchange programs.

Qeshm Island, located in Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, is the largest free trade zone in Iran and is expected to emerge as a trading hub in the strategic region.