Economy, Domestic Economy

Advantages of Mehran Free Trade Zone

Advantages of Mehran Free Trade Zone Advantages of Mehran Free Trade Zone

The establishment of a free trade zone in the border city of Mehran in Ilam province is expected to benefit the regional and national economy and boost the level of exports to neighboring Iraq, an economic expert, Ali Hayatnia told ISNA.

Free Trade Zones have emerged in recent years as a suitable platform to promote foreign trade. In its latest session on January 28 this year, the Supreme Council of Iran’s Free Trade and Industrial and Economic Zones endorsed the establishment of two new free trade zones, one in the northwestern Ardebil province and another in the border city of Mehran in Ilam province.

The border city of Mehran located southwest of Ilam province has 220 kilometers of joint border with Iraq. The high level of security as well as lingual, tribal, religious and cultural diversities are said to be among the unique advantages of the city for the establishment of the free trade and economic zone. Mehran border is often frequented by Iranian pilgrims, Iraqi pilgrims and tourists, as 6,000 people commute through the border terminal each day.

Experts and economists believe that free trade zones benefit the regional and national economy in various ways as they lead to higher foreign direct investments and cash flow in the region, thus creating great employment opportunities for the local population.

“Establishing a free trade zone in areas such as Ilam province will not only lead to sustainable economic development, but it also helps boost the level of income and generate employment for people; thereby reducing social inequality,” Hayatnia said.  

Referring to “information technology and transportation” as the key contributors to development, he expressed hope that turning Mehran into a free trade zone will also help the region progress in these two sectors.

The expert further mentioned the progress in tourism industry as another way by which a free trade zone can benefit the region, as it creates sustainable employment. “In countries such as Uruguay, creating employment has been the foremost objective pursued by the government in establishing free trade zones,” he added.

Establishing free trade zones also helps attract more investments to the region, leading in turn to more employment opportunities, he added, noting that the increase in trade volume and investments consequently lead to generating higher regional and national revenues.

He also noted that establishing new free trade zones can help expand the domestic market and create new markets for foreign investors in the country.

Observing that Mehran trade zone marks the first free trade zone in Iran’s western borders, he said: “The free trade zone helps open up the country’s economy to the outside world and prepare the ground for better access to the global markets.”