12 September IRNA

Iran, Armenia discuss expansion of trade

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Commere Minister Mohaamd Sharaitmadari discussed economic ties and other regional and bialteral issues with Arminian Energy Minsiter Garen Galustian in Yerevan Wednesday.

The Armenian official said the upcoming trip by the Armenia president to Iran will open a new chapter in bialteral ties. He also stressed the need for lowering tarrifs on each countries goods and reducing customs formalities.

He said the gas pipleine between Iran and Armenia is not only strategic but is important for region, adding that building the Kajeran Tunnel, oil refinery and hydro-electric plant on Aras River needs to be given serious attention by the two countries offcials. Shariatmadari praised the efforts of Armenia to implement provisions of the agreement signed by the two countries and stressed the need for government and banking gurantees to further expand bilateral trade.

The Iranian commerece minister also called for carring out economic and trade infrastrcuture projects which could pave the ground for bilateral trade of about dlrs 250 million annually. He pointed to the importance of reforms in customs regulations and expansion of transit route between the two countries as well as building the proposed Kajeran Tunnel project.

He also said that traders in East Azarbaijan province are eager to strengthen trade cooperation with Armenia. In his three-day visit, Sharitmadari who is accompanied by several industrialists and traders will meet with high-ranking Armenian officials including the president, prime minister as well as Armenian business community.

The talks will revolve around the issues of mutual interest, reduction of customs and trade red-tape as well as lowering tariffs on each other goods. The delegation will also visit factories and manufacturing units in Armenia.

In the recent five-day visit of a political and economic delegation from East Azarbaijan province to Armenian Republic, three memorandums of understanding (MoU) were signed on trade cooperation and supply of raw materials required by the Armenian industries. Also, another MoU calls for the manufacture of soaps, beverages, electric bulbs and cigarette manufacturing plants by the Armenian side to be established in the 'Jolfa Special Economic Zone.'

At present some 19 percent of the Armenia's foreign trade is with Iran. The value of non-petroleum exports by Iran to Armenia annually is estimated around 120 million dollars. As one of the most important economic poles of Iran, East Azarbaijan plays a determining role in enhancing relations between Iran and Armenia owing to 35 kilometer joint land border between the two countries.

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