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January 2018, No. 86


Trade & Business

Iran Georgia’s Gateway to Persian Gulf


The forum gave a platform to the government authorities as well as representatives of Georgian and Iranian companies to establish communication for more productive future cooperation.


Georgia and Iran are carrying forward millennia-old relations by forging closer ties in various sectors including trade, economy and agriculture.

An Iranian delegation comprising top managers of 30 Iranian companies arrived in Georgia Oct. 10 to participate in the Georgian-Iranian Business Forum and strengthen economic relations between the two countries.

The forum gave a platform to the government authorities as well as representatives of Georgian and Iranian companies to establish communication for more productive future cooperation.

According to Georgia’s Ministry of Economy, the Iranian business delegation voiced interest in cooperation with Georgia in such areas as transport, chemical products, oil and gas, food industry, wood processing and manufacturing of electric equipment.

At the forum, Georgian authorities showcased the country’s favorable business environment and urged Iranian business delegation to invest in Georgia.

Georgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Gakharia positively assessed current trade-economic relations between the two countries.

“We know that a very large project has been initiated, which is meant to create an oil processing enterprise… In the first eight months [of 2017] trade turnover [between Georgia and Iran] increased by 48 percent… We try to overcome all challenges in order to have more effective communication [with Iran],” said Gakharia.

As for other data, the Ministry of Economy announced that the number of Iranian tourists visiting Georgia increased by 127 percent between January and September 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

 “We have agreed that it is necessary to deepen cooperation in terms of establishing joint enterprises,” said Gakharia after the meeting.

Discussions about joint activities in agricultural sector continued between Georgia’s Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili and Iranian Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei.

As Davitashvili stated there was an opportunity to develop “various directions” based on the memorandums of understanding that are signed between Georgia and Iran. 

Jump in Trade Balance

Rabiei, also Iranian Chairman of Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission, said (Oct. 9) that the two countries’ exchanges over the past two years have reached $131 million, showing an increase of 50 percent.

After a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Giorgi Kvirikashvili in Tbilisi, Rabiei told IRNA that during the meeting it was agreed to raise the volume of trade transactions by twofold.

On certain obstacles in the way of mutual cooperation, he also said that transit of Iranian lorries through Georgia, which has increased from 4,000 to 12,000, faced problems due to some complication in obtaining permits; however, it was agreed that Iranian lorries drive through the country without any need for permits.

He further noted that the Georgian premier declared, during the meeting, that he was pursuing monetary and banking exchanges enthusiastically.

Rabiei also proposed establishment of Iranian bank branches in Georgia but final decision thereof will be taken later.

“Both sides expressed their political support for each other and voiced readiness for cooperation in various fields, including economy, energy, transportation and other joint projects,” Rabiei said.

The Georgian prime minister said at the meeting: “We can facilitate approaching the third-party markets. Iran is not just an 80 million-population-market for Georgia and we can also gain access to larger markets through Iran. In turn, through establishment of joint Georgia-Iran companies, Georgia offers Iran access to all the privileges that our country has upon the signed agreements on Free Trade Regimes, which means access to the European markets as well as to the markets of our neighboring countries,”.

The Sixth Meeting of Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission kicked off in Tbilisi (Oct. 9).

Iran-Georgia exchanges over the past two years have reached $131 million, of which $83 million are exports from Iran to Georgia. 

Banking Ties Underlined

Iran said delay in offering banking services to legal and real entities and lack of banking ties between Georgia and Iran is one of the main problems of developing bilateral cooperation.

Iran’s Ambassador to Georgia Javad Qavam Shahidi made the remarks at the 6th Joint Economic Commission meeting of Iran-Georgia.

Many Iranian investors and businessmen are interested in working in Georgia, but the aforementioned problem discourages them.

He praised Georgian officials’ desire for development of economic and commercial ties with Iran, and said that Iran is fully aware of Tbilisi geo-strategic position.

The envoy said that Georgia could be a regional hub for Iranian exports to Europe, adding that the two countries may be complementary to each other economically and have good cooperation in producing goods.

Iran, Georgia Markets Supplement Each Other

Georgian economy minister called Tehran and Tbilisi good economic partners, and said that given the suitable position of both states, they could supplement each other goods also become export venue for the other.

Also addressing the 6th Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission meeting, Gakharia said, “This meeting is so important for us and we are concentrating on development of economic relations between the two states.”

Georgia may enter 300-million-population markets of the region via Iran, while it has also a suitable position for exporting Iranian goods to Europe.

Gakharia also pointed to development of aerial connections between the two countries, and said that currently seven Iranian and Georgian airlines are transferring passengers between the two states.

He underlined the necessity to remove tariff obstacles in bilateral trade relations.

The minister also declared Georgia’s readiness to create new and necessary atmosphere for Iranian investors.

Gakharia appreciated Iran’s assistance in controlling fire in jungle area in Georgia. 

MoU Inked

Iran and Georgia signed an economic memorandum of understanding (Oct. 10) to enhance cooperation in various fields, including banking.

The MoU was signed following the 6th Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission meeting and entails 16 articles, including cooperation on transportation, information technology, tourism, agriculture, labor, health, and education.

Facilitating banking ties is among the contents of the MoU, Iran’s minister of cooperatives said after signing the agreement.

Gakharia told reporters that the MoU stresses Iran-Georgia cooperation in the areas of transportation and transit, and that the two countries’ bilateral ties on the issue means the Persian Gulf is linked to the Black Sea and Europe.

He also said that given Iran’s valuable experience in agriculture, fishery, oil and gas, Georgia is interested in cooperating with Iran.

The 5th Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission was held in Tehran two years ago.

Iran, Georgia Gateway to Persian Gulf

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said recently that the Islamic Republic can function as the passageway of Georgia and other regional countries to the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean while Georgia can connect Iran to the Black Sea.

“Transit [cooperation] in the region currently has special significance and given a rail link between Iran’s [northern city of] Astara and Azerbaijan and good rail and road routes in Georgia, the development of Tehran-Tbilisi cooperation in this field can bring about a transportation in the region,” Rouhani said in a meeting with PM Kvirikashvili in Tehran back in April.

“Iran and Georgia have broad economic, scientific and cultural capacities and capabilities to strengthen their cooperation but these capabilities have not been utilized well and this trip can lay the appropriate ground for the expansion of mutual relations,” the Iranian President said.

He also urged the two countries to support investors in the private sectors to boost their cooperation.

The Georgian prime minister, for his part, said his country is determined to connect the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea through Iran’s roads and railways.

He urged the two countries to strengthen cooperation in the transit of goods and transportation.

The premier’s trip to Tehran came few days after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Georgia on the second leg of a three-nation tour of Central Asia and the Caucasus countries which also took him to Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.

 

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  January 2018
No. 86