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EghtesadOnline: Iran has proposed to integrate its bank card switch with Georgia in a move aimed at boosting tourism revenues for the two countries.

The proposal was made by Iran’s Minister of Economic and Finance Affairs Masoud Karbasian in a meeting on Sunday with members of the Georgian parliamentary friendship group, the official news outlet of the ministry said.

Karbasian proposed that “the groundwork for banking cooperation between the two countries will be established in a way that would allow the use of bank cards of Iran and Georgia by the people in each other’s countries”.

This represents Iran’s latest effort to expand ties with foreign counterparts in light of the reimposition of US sanctions. In addition to reaching bilateral or multilateral currency swap deals, Iran has been working toward integrating its bank card switch with several nations, Financial Tribune reported.

The country’s main partner in bank card switch initiatives is Russia. Citizens of the two nations were to use their bank cards in each other’s countries in 2017 ahead of the World Cup games, but the initiative hit several delays and there was no development on that front for months. The issue seems to be technical in nature, as Iranian banks are lacking the latest technology.

In mid-March, high-level officials with the Central Bank of Iran met with a delegation from Oman, led by its foreign minister, and announced that expert teams are evaluating the mechanisms of connecting the bank card switches of the two countries. 

In April, Iran and Turkey announced that they aim to build on their recently implemented currency swap deal. In a meeting between Bank Melli Iran executives and their counterparts at Turkey’s Ziraat Bank, the two agent banks of the currency swap deal, it was announced that they are eying bank card switch integration to help the massive flow of tourists between the two countries.

During his Sunday meeting with the Georgian delegation, Karbasian also discussed a host of other issues and ways of expanding bilateral ties.

He noted that the two countries have reached good agreements in terms of customs collaboration, preventing the levy of unnecessary taxes and supporting mutual investments, stressing that Iran is ready to negotiate with Georgia in other economic fields.

Karbasian listed the potential fields of cooperation as electronic customs exchanges, forming joint investment workgroups, insurance and reinsurance, transport and transit, and electricity export.

“Any bilateral agreement reached will be supported by the members of our country’s parliament,” he declared.     


Iran Georgia Bank Card Switch