Iranian capital Tehran hosted a grand Iran-Russia business forum at Espinas Palace Hotel on Tuesday.
Organized by the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), the event was participated by a 120-member Russian delegation as well as businesspeople and officials from Iran, the ICCIMA portal reported.
ICCIMA Head Gholam-Hossein Shafeie, Russian Ambassador to Iran Alexey Yurievich Dedov, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Mehdi Safari, and President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russian Federation Sergey Katyrin were among the officials who attended the forum.
Developing infrastructure, a prerequisite for expanding trade
Opening the event, ICCIMA Head Gholam-Hossein Shafeie underlined the need for the improvement of transportation and trade infrastructure for the expansion of trade ties between Iran and Russia, saying that the creation of transportation infrastructure, development of banking relations, facilitation of the issuance of bank guarantees, and expansion of the activities of the green customs corridor are prerequisites for the development of relations between the two countries.
Referring to Iran’s major policy of constructive partnership with neighboring countries, Shafeie stated: “In order to create a calm and stress-free environment for business, Iranian private sector emphasizes the use of diplomatic capacities to develop economic and trade relations with other nations.”
He further stressed the capacities of Iran and Russia to develop relations and said: “The two countries’ major resources and capabilities in various fields such as oil and gas, shipping in the Caspian Sea and general transportation along the north-south corridor, information technology and electronics, petrochemicals, agriculture and food, metals and chemicals, construction and textile materials, pharmaceuticals, technical and engineering services, along with the desire of the two countries for regional cooperation have paved the way for the expansion of bilateral exchanges.”
Iran-Russia working on a direct banking channel
Elsewhere in the forum, Mehdi Safari, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy, said Iran and Russia are working on a mechanism for establishing a direct banking channel between the two countries.
Mentioning the visit of several delegations from Central Bank of Iran (CBI) to Russia and also the visit of some Russian bank representatives to Iran, Safari said: “The central bank has sent five high-level delegations to Russia which have had long negotiations [with Russian counterparts]. On the other hand, Russian bank representatives also came to Iran and the infrastructure is being prepared; As the central bank says in four months our business relationship with Russia will be closed [conducted directly], and if this is done, such a relationship can be formed with more than 10 other countries.”
Tehran-Moscow eye $40b of annual trade
Also addressing the forum, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russian Federation Sergey Katyrin said: “The roadmap for achieving $40 billion of trade between Iran and Russia has been prepared and the businesspeople of both sides are waiting for the implementation of a free trade agreement [between the two countries].”
Underlining the Russian chamber’s efforts to develop relations between Iranian and Russian businessmen, Katyrin emphasized: “Following these efforts, today more than 100 representatives and entrepreneurs from different provinces of Russia are present in this forum, and we are ready to develop provincial relations between the two countries even further.”
“In this regard, as emphasized in the meeting of the presidents of the two countries, various ministers of our country visited Russia in order to lay the groundwork for the development of trade relations,” he said.
The official stressed the importance of exchanging information between businessmen of the two countries and added: “Decisions were made in the Russian Chamber [of commerce and industry] to increase the level of relations with the Iranian side, and we took more than 100 people on this trip to show how important it is for Russia to increase relations with Iran.”
Iran, Russia governments support private sector ties
Also speaking at the gathering, Russian Ambassador to Iran Alexey Yurievich Dedov underlined the governments of the two countries’ support for the expansion of economic ties and said the government officials of Iran and Russia have met each other and talked on the phone several times to come up with ways to develop relations.
“By the end of this year, the presence of more high-level Russian delegations in Iran can create a foundation for bilateral and multilateral relations and make it possible to reach the economic goals [set by the two sides].”
Headed by Sergey Katyrin, the Russian trade delegation, comprised of businesspersons active in different areas, including transportation, food, constructional materials, petrochemical and oil products, international arbitration, and so on, arrived in Tehran on Monday.
After attending the forum, the delegation also plans to visit other Iranian cities of Rasht, Anzali, and Isfahan.
On the sidelines of the business forum, the Russian businesspersons held B2B meetings with their Iranian counterparts.
Iran and Russia traded as much as $4.63 billion worth of commodities over the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20), according to an April report by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA).
Earlier this month, Igor Yevgenyevich Levitin, aide to the president of the Russian Federation, visited Iran on top of a high-ranking delegation to meet with Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Rostam Qasemi and discuss the expansion of transport ties.