Economy, Domestic Economy

Proposals to Foster Iran-Afghan Trade

Proposals to Foster Iran-Afghan Trade
Proposals to Foster Iran-Afghan Trade

Secretary General of Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Trade Mozafar Alikhani called for the removal of visa requirements for Iranian and Afghan traders and reduction of import tariffs to enhance trade transactions between the two countries.

The official made the remarks in the Iran-Afghanistan Trade Opportunities Conference in Mashhad on Thursday.

He noted that Afghan businessmen are currently faced with difficulties in obtaining visa for traveling to Iran, due to lengthy procedures involved and relatively high costs of visa. “Although former Iranian governments had made promises in this regard, none have been fulfilled so far and visa formalities still remain a major problem for Afghan traders,” he said, IRNA reported.

Reduction of import tariffs was another suggestion made by Alikhani to increase the volume of transactions between the two countries, as he pointed that Afghan investors are hoping for the export regulations and the procedure for issuing work permits to be simplified by Iranian authorities. He added that Afghans are also looking forward to receiving tax exemptions on their investments in Iran.

  Import-Export Imbalance

In the first ten months of the current year (March 21-January 20), Iran exported about $2 billion worth of commodities to Afghanistan, while Afghanistan exported goods valued at $4 million to Iran, said Alikhani, underlining the possibilities of developing trade ties with Afghanistan.

“The level of exports and imports between the two countries are not comparable. The imbalance clearly reflects the existing impediments to and challenges of trade relations between the two countries,” said the official.

To manage the unevenness, Alikhani suggested that the administration encourage private sector participation in trade activities.

Noting that agricultural and animal products constitute major imports from Afghanistan to Iran, the official said Iran quarantines the imported products at the border and does not allow their entry to the country before a health certificate has been issued, while the Iranian products go through far less complicated procedures for being exported to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is currently the fourth major export destination for Iranian commodities.  

  Seasonal Taxes

Seasonal taxes imposed on import of agricultural products from Afghanistan to Khorasan Razavi Province in northeastern Iran will be removed in the upcoming growing season as an incentive to Afghan exporters, head of Khorasan Razavi bureau of Joint Iran-Afghanistan Chamber, Mahmoud Siadat said in the conference.

“The chamber is studying the possible avenues for expansion of economic ties and removal of existing barriers to facilitate cooperation between the two countries,” IRNA quoted siadat as saying.

Emphasizing the importance of making joint investments with Afghanistan, Siadat said Iran can take advantage of the existing potential in Afghanistan including farming land and water resources while Afghanistan can utilize the packaging and quality control facilities in the Khorasan Razavi Province, in addition to using Iran’s technical know-how in agricultural production.

Of the total $2 billion worth of commodities exported to Afghanistan over the past ten months, nearly $654 million or 32% were exported from Khorasan Razavi Province, head of Khorasan Razavi Importers Union, Mohammad Hossein Roshanak said in the conference.