Economy, Domestic Economy

Iran, Kyrgyzstan Expanding Economic Cooperation

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (L) and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Almazbek Atambayev, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Dec. 23.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (L) and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Almazbek Atambayev, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Dec. 23.

Kyrgyzstan attaches special importance to the development of economic relations with Iran.

Kyrgyz Economy Minister Arzybek Kojoshev made the above statement at the Kyrgyz-Iranian Business Forum held in Bishkek last week as part of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan is interested in cooperation with Iran, the fourth largest economy in the Muslim world and the second largest in West Asia, The Times of Central Asia reported.

Trade turnover between Kyrgyzstan and Iran was $12.3 million in the first 10 months of 2016 and increased by 82.7% compared with the same period of 2015. Kyrgyzstan’s exports amounted to $7.3 million and increased 2.4-fold and imports totaled $5 million–up 36%.

The Manas International Airport in Bishkek could become a hub for Iranian airlines to China and the Asia-Pacific region.

“We are ready to offer the best conditions in the region. We are also ready to provide the airport’s transit service for refueling and maintenance of aircraft,” Kojoshev said.

“In turn, Iran’s Bandar Abbas International Airport could provide Kyrgyzstan with access to the sea and cheaper freight.”

Kyrgyzstan is a full member of the Eurasian Economic Union and enjoys preferential treatment due to the removal of barriers to movement of goods, services and capital in the markets of the five EEU member countries with a population of over 180 million.

“The EEU membership allows duty-free export of goods to the EEU member countries,” Kojoshev said.

In January 2016, the European Union granted Kyrgyzstan the right to participate in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP+).

Kyrgyzstan now can export its products (more than 6,000 commodities) without customs duties to the EU member countries if they meet the EU requirements. Kyrgyzstan is the only country in Central Asia enjoying the GSP+.

The country has a liberal tax regime, with the income tax of 10% and VAT of 12%, which is lower than in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. Kyrgyzstan’s electricity tariffs are the lowest among CIS countries.

The Kyrgyz Agriculture Ministry invited Iranian business to invest in irrigation projects.

The National Energy Holding invited Iran to invest in the construction of the Upper Naryn hydropower plants cascade and Kambarata HPP-1.

Kojoshev said Kyrgyzstan is ready to supply Iran with all kinds of meat products, especially lamb.

Kyrgyzstan has already exported 120 tons of lamb and is planning to supply 500 tons more.

“Iran has appreciated the taste and quality of meat from Kyrgyzstan. We have a serious approach to the production of products according to halal standards. In this regard, our approaches are very close, and it is necessary to develop them on a long-term basis,” Kojoshev added.

The Kyrgyz Investment Promotion and Export Agency expressed its readiness to help entrepreneurs from Iran open and run business in Kyrgyzstan.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed the need to abolish visas for the citizens of the two countries, which will boost relations between entrepreneurs and business contacts. He also noted the importance of preferential agreements in the banking system and in customs duties.

“Iran fully supports the initiative to construct a railroad to connect the countries of the region, from China to the Persian Gulf,” he said.

Rouhani also stressed the importance of creating a free trade zone between Iran and Kyrgyzstan. He also spoke on development of relations between research centers in high technologies in the field of agriculture and Iran’s readiness to assist Kyrgyzstan with the construction of hydroelectric power plants.

According to President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Gholamhossein Shafei, Iran and Kyrgyzstan have many opportunities for cooperation, but the two countries have not fully used them so far.

Iran is ready to invest in veterinary medicine, agriculture, energy and mining sectors of Kyrgyzstan.

“Iran and Kyrgyzstan are planning to resolve the issue of starting flights between the countries in the near future. This is of great importance for the development of bilateral relations,” he added.

The commerce chambers of Kyrgyzstan and Iran discussed creation of a joint business council and holding exhibitions of Iranian goods in Kyrgyzstan, as well as organization of business missions of Kyrgyz businesspeople to Iran.

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