Iran Opens Permanent Trade, Exhibition Center in Kabul
EghtesadOnline: An 11-storey permanent trade and exhibition center of Iranian products was officially inaugurated on Sunday in the Parwan area of Kabul.
An 11-storey permanent trade and exhibition center of Iranian products was officially inaugurated on Sunday in the Parwan area of Kabul.
Nooruddin Azizi, Taliban’s acting minister of trade and industry who attended the inauguration ceremony, said, “Our expectation from the friendly country of Iran is that first, we can equalize our trade balance and get permission to export.
Azizi added that the Taliban want to import technology from Iran, Amu TV reported on its website.
The Iranian Embassy in Kabul, meanwhile, said in a tweet: “The trade center and permanent exhibition of I.R. Iran was opened in Kabul as a fundamental step for the development of trade relations between Iran and Afghanistan. This center will be a place for Afghan businessmen to familiarize themselves with Iranian products.”
Iranian Business Delegation Visits Kabul
This is while a business delegation of 20 people from Iran arrived in Kabul on Saturday.
The delegation stated that they have registered 30 to 40 companies to participate at the expo, adding that they would register more companies going forward.
Mohammad Sadeq Qanadzadeh, a member of the Iranian delegation, said Afghanistan is one of the strategic partners, which has long-standing historical, cultural, religious and social relations with Iran.
“One of our serious shortcomings in our interactions with Afghanistan, particularly after the changes and development that occurred in Afghanistan, is the lack of an active commercial center in the country,” he added.
Iranian media outlets reported that the trade center will increase Iran’s exports to Afghanistan and open a new chapter in economic relations between the two countries.
Mohammad Reza Maududi, the deputy head for export development of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, stated that six Iranian business centers will be established in China, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Russia and the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Strengthening Trade Relations
Reza Najjari, Iran’s deputy ambassador in Kabul, stated that Afghanistan has an important place in Iran’s foreign policy.
“The volume of trade relations between Iran and Afghanistan in the first 10 months of this year [started March 2022] totaled $1.2 billion and the two counties have a strong intention and will to strengthen economic and trade relations,” he added.
Regarding the Iranian expo in Kabul, he added that the establishment of trade center could be “a milestone in the history of economic relations between the two countries.”
Mohammad Yunus Mohmand, the head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, also emphasized the need for joint cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan to resolve bilateral trade and transit problems.
“It is time for both countries to take practical steps to strengthen economic cooperation,” he added.
Hossein Roustaei, an Iranian commercial counsel in Afghanistan, said the largest trade center of Iran in Afghanistan is responsible for identifying economic and economic cooperation capacities, investment opportunities, marketing, introducing Iranian and Afghan goods, providing legal and banking services and responding to the demands of companies regarding economic and commercial issues.”
$1b MoU for Infrastructure Projects
The Ministry of Industry and Trade of Afghanistan, representatives of Russian business, Iranian investors and specialists from Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding for infrastructure projects with a total capitalization of $1 billion, the Russian Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti.
The MoU, which involves the construction of a coal-fired thermal power plant, mining and modernization of the gas pipeline in Herat, was signed in early February in Kabul.
The Russian ministry drew attention to the fact that "information regarding the creation of a trade union between Russia and Afghanistan worth $1 billion is based on an inaccurate public interpretation of the agreement reached by Afghan authorities with one of the Russian private companies."
"In accordance with the quadrilateral deal signed in Kabul on Feb. 5 - the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Afghanistan, a group of Iranian investors, a group of Pakistani specialists and representatives of Russian business - a memorandum of understanding to implement a number of infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, the Russian economic operator ‘KER-Holding’ plans to build a coal-fired thermal power plant with a capacity of 200 MW in Samangan Province," the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
According to the agency, the memorandum mentions seven more investment projects: the construction of the Kabul-Milak Highway (Nimruz Province), reconstruction of the Salang Tunnel, the Panjsher-Kabul water supply system, mining, modernization of the gas pipeline in Herat Province, development of coal deposits, as well as construction of water treatment plants.
Tehran Hosted ‘Biggest Business Event’
The Second Iran-Afghanistan Business Forum and Conference, touted as “the biggest business event held between the two neighboring countries” was held at Tehran’s Olympic Hotel on Feb. 6-7.
A total of 70 Afghan businessmen and representatives of as many Iranian companies attended the event.
The speakers of the conference were Hossein Salimi, the head of Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce; Abdul-Qayum Soleimani, ambassador of Afghanistan to Iran; Alireza Yavari, the deputy head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture for international affairs; and Ahmad-Reza Allaie Tabatabaei, the deputy head of Trade Promotion Organization, the news portal of ICCIMA reported.
Speakers of specialized panels spoke on Afghanistan's commodity and investment needs, investment opportunities in the country’s industrial and mining sectors, and ways to remove trade and investment barriers between Iran and Afghanistan.
“The Afghan government needs Iranian businessmen to implement many projects in Afghanistan. We hope that the Iranian government can prepare the ground for the cooperation and investment of Iranian businessmen in Afghanistan, although the Afghan government has special conditions for the cooperation of foreign investors, especially Iranians,” said Afghanistan’s envoy to Iran, ILNA reported.
“Businessmen in Afghanistan have created special jobs and industrial towns with their own capital, and currently, the industrial towns require the presence of foreign investors to be able to continue their operations,” Soleimani added.
Ali Chagharvand, the deputy head of ICCIMA, called for the establishment of “economic diplomacy” between the two countries to increase business relations with economic cooperation.
“Afghanistan has made a lot of investments in Iran and these relations should be targeted. For example, special attention should be paid to Chabahar Port, which has special economic significance considering that goods can be transported between Iran and Afghanistan through this port in 12 hours,” he added.
He noted that there are currently six unused border markets between Iran and Afghanistan.
“One of the obstacles and problems in the development of bilateral relations is the lack of communication between the businessmen of the two countries,” Qannadzadeh said.
“We are trying to reduce political conflicts surrounding Chabahar and increase Afghanistan and Pakistan’s trade with Iran through this port.”
According to Ahmad Saeed Sadat, Afghanistan’s commercial counsellor to Iran, Afghanistan supplies 90% of its consumer goods from imports, most of which are imported from Iran.
“We can have cooperation with Iranian companies for investment. For example, Iran has good production capacity and technology in the field of industrial machinery production,” he said.