EghtesadOnline: The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan International Cooperation Agency, affiliated to the government of Japan to jointly offer a special customs training course to Afghanistan’s customs staff.
The MoU was signed between JICA's Chief Representative in Iran Yukiharu Kobayashi and Iranian Foreign Ministry's Director General for West Asia Rasoul Eslami on Sunday, IRNA reported.
"Japan’s customs department pursues the facilitation of customs controls and procedures," said IRICA chief, Foroud Asgari, who also attended the event.
"Bilateral cooperation of Iran and Japan to train Afghanistan’s customs staff is a successful example of IRICA’s international cooperation with friendly countries."
According to Financial Tribune, the Japanese government started Official Development Assistance activities in Iran in 1957 and JICA established a Tehran office in 1974. In its almost 60 years of assistance program, JICA has helped Iran implement many projects with government agencies and local officials, particularly in the field of environmental conservation.
Last year, in an interview with Financial Tribune, Kobayashi said, “We are in charge of the implementation of overseas projects, the money for which comes from ordinary Japanese taxpayers. The government allocates the budget to JICA and decisions on what projects to carry out are made by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
According to Kobayashi, 3,509 Iranian participants have taken part in training programs in Japan and 1,205 Japanese experts have been assigned to projects in Iran to date.
Since the beginning of its activity in Iran until 2017, the Japanese government and JICA spent more than $998 million ($253.7 million on technical cooperation projects and $744.4 million on yen loan or ODA projects) in Iran.
>Strengthening Bilateral Economic Ties
The general policy of the Japanese government and Japan International Cooperation Agency is to strengthen economic relations between Iran and Japan, the current CEO of JICA in Iran said last month.
Addressing the fourth Joint Coordinating Committee meeting held at Qeshm, Hiroyuki Tanaka added that JICA’s comprehensive plan was launched in Qeshm in 2015 to create conditions for the development of the island based on the participation of local communities, along with ensuring environmental protection.
"The Japanese government intends to promote the stable development of Iranian economy by sharing experiences and undertaking joint cooperation programs," he said.
Tanaka noted that Qeshm Island has a unique ecosystem and rich natural resources, the preservation and protection of which can attract more tourists to Iran and bring about economic prosperity.
“The natural environment provides essential resources for human life, such as water, food and medicine,” he said.
“One of the main development bases of the island is the establishment of a relationship between all the people of the region and the creation of synergy between the ecosystem and human community.”
Tanaka said the comprehensive plan is approaching its final stages, which does not mean the end of cooperation, therefore the Qeshm Free Zone Organization should continue to implement pilot projects and maintain its regulatory role.
Japan and Iran signed a treaty to protect investments by Japanese companies across various Iranian sectors in February 2016. The treaty, which took effect on April 26, 2017, is seen as incentivizing Japanese companies considering investments in Iran's midstream petroleum sector, according to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Possible Japanese investments in Iran could include petroleum, gas development, refinery and petrochemical projects.
JICA’s priority areas in Iran include strengthening infrastructure, job creation, disaster risk reduction, water resources management, conservation of natural environment, global warming management and relations with the international community.