Economy, Domestic Economy

Trade, Export Prospects in Afghanistan

Trade, Export Prospects in AfghanistanTrade, Export Prospects in Afghanistan

In order to rid the economy of overreliance on oil revenues and move out of a single-product deadlock, Iran is actively considering ramping up non-oil exports as an alternative source of revenue.

Afghanistan, Iran’s fifth export destination after China, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and India, offers great opportunities to this end. The eastern neighbor is not only a good market for Iranian products, but also its northern provinces act as trade gateways to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, paving the path for Iran to develop trade with Central Asian countries.

Moreover, Afghanistan’s abundant mineral reserves, which according to a report published by US researchers in 2006 are estimated at nearly $1 trillion, can be utilized to feed Iran’s massive steel industry.

Holding international exhibitions is one of the preliminary steps for taking the initiative in introducing domestic firms’ capabilities and products to consumers in designated markets. On this note, the first exclusive exhibition on trade capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran is due to be held in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of Balkh Province, October 13-16. The exhibition will be attended by manufacturers and traders from provinces of Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Mazandaran, Isfahan, Zanjan, Kerman, Fars, West Azarbaijan, Gilan, Markazi, Golestan, South Khorasan and Semnan.

According to IRNA, domestic firms active in fields such as foodstuffs, energy, road construction, telecommunications, handicrafts and carpets, home appliances, mining extraction equipment and agriculture will showcase their capabilities at the event.

A board member of Association of Producers and Exporters of Iron Ore, Keyvan Jafari Tehrani, announced at the International Conference on Development of Iran and Afghanistan Mines and Mining Industries in Tehran on Tuesday that Iran is eying Afghanistan’s iron ore reserves to materialize the 55 million tons of steel production as per the National 20-year Vision Plan (2005-25).  

“Afghanistan’s Hajigak iron ore mine, located in Bamyan Province, is the world’s second largest and Asia’s largest iron ore mine. The mine’s iron ore reserves are estimated at about 2 billion tons with 62% purity,” said Jafari Tehrani.

He added that India has recently agreed to invest $100 million in the construction of a 900-kilometer railroad to connect Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province to Chabahar Port, noting that the railroad will also enable Afghanistan to gain access to European markets through Iran, creating a “new silk road” in the process.

Iran annually exports $2.5 billion worth of petrochemicals, foodstuffs, construction materials and technical and engineering services to Afghanistan.