TEHRAN – Iran, and Uzbekistan are set to draw a comprehensive roadmap for the expansion of economic relations between the two countries through the development of ties in all areas including industry, energy, customs, mining, agriculture, and investment.
The decision in this regard was announced during the two countries’ 14th Joint Economic Committee meeting on Sunday.
In this event, which was co-chaired by Iranian Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Reza Fatemi-Amin and Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime-Minister for Investments and Foreign Economic Affairs and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Umurzakov Sardor Uktamovich, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the mentioned areas.
The mentioned MOU was signed by Fatemi-Amin and Umarzakov at the end of the meeting.
Current level of mutual trade unsatisfactory
Speaking in this meeting, Fatemi-Amin pointed to the close cultural and historical relations between Iran and Uzbekistan and expressed the Iranian government’s willingness for the expansion of all-out ties with Uzbekistan.
He noted that the trade relations between the two countries are far less than ideal and urged the officials of the two countries to take the necessary actions to compensate for the existing shortcoming and to remove barriers in the way of trade between the two sides.
Fatemi-Amin further underlined the significance of the two countries’ Joint Economic Committee meeting, saying that this meeting would be the first step in expanding the economic relations between the two countries.
Iranian, Uzbek governments determined to develop trade ties
Elsewhere in the meeting, Umarzakov pointed to the determination of the presidents of Iran and Uzbekistan for broadening of trade ties, noting that over the past five months the two countries’ presidents have met twice and this shows their determination for the expansion of mutual ties.
He further mentioned that the Iran-Uzbekistan Joint Economic Committee meeting has been held after two years, saying: “We should increase our efforts to make this event an annual one.”
The Uzbek deputy prime minister said he has received clear directives from his president to take all the necessary measures for the expansion of mutual trade ties between the two countries.
He also mentioned his meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and stated that President Raisi has also shown a determination for the development of economic relations.
Iran-Uzbekistan trade stands at less than $500 million at present, while the presidents of the two countries have anticipated an outlook of $1 billion.
A joint committee to be formed to pursue implementation of agreements
The official pointed to the fact that the volume of trade between the two countries has decreased over the past few years partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and partly because of transport and banking issues and noted that three major steps should be taken to resolve the situation.
“The first step would be strengthening of relations between the two countries’ private sectors, the second one will be the establishment of a barter trade mechanism between the two sides, and the third step would be holding joint exhibitions in the two countries,” Umarzakov explained.
He also stressed the need for the expansion of industrial cooperation in free and special economic zones of the two countries and also increasing joint investment.
The Uzbek official further noted that a joint committee will also be formed at the end of the committee, which will monitor and follow up the implementation of the agreements reached between the two sides.
Expansion of agricultural co-op on the agenda
Elsewhere in the meeting, Uzbekistan’s Agriculture Minister Jamshid Khodjaev mentioned a meeting with his Iranian counterpart before the joint economic committee meeting and said during that meeting positive agreements have been reached.
According to Khodjaev, the outcomes of the mentioned meeting have been mainly focused on two major areas namely the development of educational and research cooperation as well as implementing joint investment projects to increase the level of trade in the agricultural sector.
Uzbekistan to use Iranian ports to develop transit
Uzbekistan’s Transport Minister Ilkhom Makhkamov, in another part of the meeting, pointed to the great capacities of Iran’s southern ports including Chabahar and Bandar Abbas, and said, Uzbekistan is eager to use the capacities of the Iranian ports to develop transit through the country.
He noted that an official delegation from his ministry visited the Iranian Chabahar Port back in January to explore the avenues of mutual cooperation through this port.
Makhkamov also stressed the need for the activation of the existing transport corridors as well as establishing new ones in order to develop the trade ties and transit between the two countries.
The official mentioned the existing transport corridors between the two countries including Iran-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan and Iran-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan as well as Iran-Uzbekistan-Turkey-Turkmenistan, saying that the two sides should make use of these capacities to expand mutual trade.
He noted that despite all the hardships, the transport cooperation between the two countries has been following an upward trend in all areas including road, air, maritime, and rail transportation.
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/470333/Iran-Uzbekistan-to-draw-roadmap-for-expanding-economic-ties