Economy, Business And Markets

Iran Economic Diversification in Full Swing

Attendants at the Fourth Conference of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the PacificAttendants at the Fourth Conference of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Reducing dependency on oil revenues and diversifying its income sources have been on the agenda of Iran's government for the past four years, the Iranian minister of economy said.

"Iran's non-oil trade balance has become positive for the first time in 50 years, which means the value of our exports, even without the oil income, outweighs the import value," Ali Tayyebnia was also quoted as saying by Shada, the Economy Ministry's official website.

Tayyebnia made the announcement in the Fourth Conference of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Thailand.

He described the event as a good opportunity for economic officials and private sector representatives to share their ideas and find a solution to the current regional challenges.

ESCAP is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region, established in 1947 with its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. Made up of 53 member states and nine associate members, with a geographical scope that stretches from Turkey in the west to the Pacific island nation of Kiribati in the east, and from the Russian Federation in the north to New Zealand in the south, the region is home to 4.1 billion people, or two-thirds of the world’s population.

Tayyebnia emphasized the importance of international development banks such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which were established to expand sustainable economic growth and foster infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region through investment and financing.

The minister noted that Iran has improved significantly in recent years in stabilizing its economy in order to maintain a continuous growth.

"President Hassan Rouhani's government managed to turn the negative economic growth of 6.8% in 2014 to a positive growth of 6.4% in 2016 and while inflation rate stood at 40% back then, it dropped down to 8% in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2017)," he said.

"For the first time in five decades, the share of oil income in government budget has taken a backseat to tax revenues, with the latter accounting for 70% of the annual budget."

Tayyebnia hoped that ESCAP will play a more important and effective role in the economic development of the region.  

Thai Ties

Tayyebnia also met his Thai counterpart on the sidelines of the conference and the two discussed expansion of economic relations.

The Iranian minister noted that their mutual agreements for reducing tariffs, customs cooperation and supporting mutual investment can form the substructure for expanding ties between the two countries.

"Fostering banking ties and correspondent relations are essential prerequisites to expand economic relations," he said.

The Thai economy minister also talked about the high importance of Iran in the region and the Thai government's determination to expand economic and business ties with Iran, expressing his enthusiasm to finalize the agreements.   

"Both countries' banks could open accounts in local currencies or euro, and trading will be settled through them," Apisak Tantivorawong added.

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