EghtesadOnline: Iran-Qatar Chamber of Commerce was established on Saturday, the director general of Arabic-African Affairs Bureau with Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s International Affairs Department announced.
Shahram Khassipour added that Mohammad Reza Qomi, the chairman of Yazd Province's Chamber of Commerce, was elected as the head of the joint chamber, IRNA reported.
According to the latest data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, close to 1.46 million tons of commodities worth more than $188.23 million were were exported from Iran to Qatar during the first 10 months of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2017-Jan. 20), registering a 56.5% and 106.5% hike in weight and value respectively compared with the similar period of last year.
Iran has significantly increased its exports to Qatar after a number of Arab states—led by Saudi Arabia—abruptly severed diplomatic relations with Doha in June last year and imposed a blockade on the Persian Gulf country, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups. The Qatari government has denied the accusation, blasting the blockade as unjustified and a violation of international law, Financial Tribune reported.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in September that the Saudi-led economic blockade on Qatar is pushing it closer to Iran economically.
"They (Saudi Arabia and its allies) said Qatar was now closer to Iran. By their measures, they are pushing Qatar to Iran," he was quoted as saying in Paris.
Turkey, Iran and Qatar recently signed a transportation pact for boosting trilateral trade. Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci and his Qatari counterpart Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani were in the Iranian capital Tehran in November to sign the agreement with Iran’s Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari.
Under the agreement, Iran will be the transit country between Turkey and Qatar. The deal is expected to help accelerate transport of goods and facilitate trade.
“Iran is playing an important role in the transport of goods from Turkey and Azerbaijan to Qatar,” the Qatari minister said in a bilateral meeting with Shariatmadari.
According to Mohammed bin Mahdi Al Ahbabi, a board member of Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the land route between Turkey and Qatar via Iran reduces the cost of transport of goods by about 80% compared to air cargo.
Turkey’s Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci said last month that Ankara will accelerate efforts to facilitate transit through Iran, especially to increase trade with Qatar.
Chairman of Shiraz Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Jamal Razeqi Jahromi believes Iran has lagged behind Turkey in seizing opportunities in the Qatari market after the Arab embargo.
The Shiraz chamber is in charge of Iran’s exports to Qatar as well as to Syria, Iraq and Russia.
“Iran’s exports to Qatar have faced a lot of problems such as high transport costs, high end prices of domestic products and unprofessional business approaches,” he said.
Jahromi stressed that Iran can increase its non-oil exports to Qatar, especially cast iron, metal, steel, organic chemical compounds, plaster, lime, cement, dairy products and other food products.
Iran is in early talks with Qatar to take on some of the hosting duties of FIFA World Cup 2022, for which Qatar has been selected as the host country.
Though Qatar promised to build 100,000 hotel rooms by 2022, it will struggle to reach 45,000.
The Iranian islands of Kish and Qeshm in the Persian Gulf have plenty of hotels that could accommodate fans.