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EghtesadOnline: A joint economic forum between Iran and South Africa was held in the headquarters of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on Sunday.

A delegation from South Africa’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Department of Trade and Industry, South African Ambassador to Iran William Whitehead and TCCIM members and officials were present.

In an address to the forum, Whitehead said transportation and information technology are the most important fields of cooperation between the two countries.

“We need to diversify our bilateral trade through mutual investments and research and development projects,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.

TCCIM official, Shahram Khassipour, said South Africa can facilitate Iran’s access to a 250-million market, as the country is a member of BRICS (an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as well as Southern African Development Community, according to Financial Tribune.

“Iran is the world’s 18th economy and has access to a 400-million market in the region. The two sides should expand cooperation and help enter third-party markets,” he added.

Based on figures released by the South African government news agency, trade between Iran and South Africa decreased from $2 billion in 2011 to $45.7 million in 2016 due to international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

According to Khassipour, the two countries have a roadmap to boost trade to pre-sanctions level.

Iran-South Africa trade TCCIM Tehran Chamber of Commerce