EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated via videoconference several projects in Aras, Arvand, Chabahar and Qeshm free trade zones as well as in special economic zones of Payam and Salafchegan worth an aggregate of 62,000 billion rials ($277 million) on Thursday.
The projects include kaolin fabric manufacturing units, cooking oil and chocolate factories, cellulose manufacturing plants, ceramics factory, electronic appliances plants, food plants, clothing units, detergent plants, specialized farming units such as vegetable farms, fisheries, flower, livestock farms and civil development projects, IRNA reported.
The Expediency Council, which resolves disputes between the parliament and Guardians Council, recently approved the establishment of seven free trade-industrialized zones and 13 special economic zones.
The Guardians Council is an oversight body that ensures laws are in line with the Iranian Constitution and Islamic law.
According to Secretary of the High Council of Free Trade Zones and Special Economic Areas Hamidreza Momeni, the seven new FTZs include Mehran in the western province of Ilam, Sistan in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Baneh-Marivan in the northwestern Kurdestan Province, Bushehr in southern Bushehr Province, Qasr-e Shirin in western Kermanshah Province, Ardabil in northwestern Ardabil Province and Incheh Borun in the northeastern Golestan Province.
Members of the council also greenlighted the creation of 13 special economic zones, namely Lar and Fasa in Fars Province, Abarkouh and Meybod in Yazd Province, Zanjan in Zanjan Province, Gachsaran in Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad Province, Serow in West Azarbaijan Province, Khaf and Quchan in Khorasan Razavi Province, Khorramabad in Lorestan Province, Takestan in Qazvin Province, Shahin-Shahr in Isfahan Province and Savojbolagh in Alborz Province, he said.
The bill on the creation of new FTZs approved by the parliament was sent on three occasions in the Iranian years ending March 2019 and 2020, but was rejected by the Guardians Council every time, IRNA reported.
Iran currently has seven trade and industrial free zones, namely Kish, Qeshm, Chabahar, Anzali, Aras, Arvand and Maku.
Trade balance of free and special economic zones stood at $10.15 billion in the fiscal 2020-21, according to the deputy secretary of High Council of Trade and Industrial Free and Special Economic Zones.
Free and special economic zones exports stood at $854 million and $13 billion respectively during the period under review.
"Coronavirus affected the trade in these areas during the fiscal 2020-21 and caused a 10% decrease in trade volume," Ahmad Jamali was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The trade balance of the free zones hit $154 million and the special economic zones stood at over $10 billion last fiscal year.
Iran's total trade stood at 145.7 million tons worth $73 billion in this period, of which exports account for 112 million tons worth $34.25 billion and imports hit 34.4 million tons worth $38.4 billion.