EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated via videoconference 62 manufacturing, economic and infrastructure projects worth 31,050 billion rials ($124.2 million) in free trade zones of Maku, Chabahar, Aras and Anzali on Tuesday.
With the completion of these projects, a total of 1,638 jobs will be generated, IRNA reported.
Thirty-eight economic, infrastructure projects worth 15,140 billion rials ($60.56 million) were inaugurated in Aras Free Trade-Industrial Zone in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan plus four projects worth 7,580 billion rials ($30.32 million) in Maku Free Trade Zone in West Azarbaijan Province, 14 projects worth 6,160 billion rials ($24.64 million) in Anzali Free Trade Zone in northern Gilan Province; and six projects worth 2,160 billion rials ($8.64 million) in Chabahar Free Trade Zone in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.
According to Secretary of the High Council of Free Trade Zones and Special Economic Areas Hamidreza Momeni, a total of 80,000 billion rials ($320 million) have been invested infor the development of infrastructures in Iran’s free trade zones during the administration of President Rouhani, including 29,000 billion rials ($116 million) on logistics, 24,000 billion rials ($96 million) on urban development, 13,000 billion rials ($52 million) on tourism and 9,000 billion rials ($36 million) on education and treatment.
“Free trade zones and special economic zones rank fourth after the Oil Ministry, Roads and Urban Development Ministry and Industries, Mining and Trade Ministry when it comes to the number of new projects launched by the government. Free trade zones account for 0.5% of Iran’s area and 1% of its population while they constitute 44% of non-oil exports and only 14% of overall imports,” he said.
The Expediency Council, a powerful body that resolves disputes between the parliament and the Guardians Council, recently approved the establishment of seven free trade-industrialized zones and 13 special economic zones.
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 Qouchan in Khorasan Razavi Province, Khorramabad in Lorestan Province, Takestan in Qazvin Province, Shahin-Shahr in Isfahan Province and Savojbolagh in Alborz Province.
The bill on the creation of new FTZs had been approved by the parliament thrice in the Iranian years ending March 2019 and 2020, but was rejected by the Guardians Council every time.