On the sidelines of his visit to Uzbekistan, Qalibaf said in a meeting with Iranian businessmen and producers residing in the central Asian country on Wednesday that based on studies, we can have a trade capacity of $216 billion per year with neighbors.
He also said that Iran has more advantages in many fields than competing countries in the region.
According to the Parliament speaker, techno-engineering and technology-based services as well as an appropriate route for transit are among Iran's significant potentials.
Qalibaf has emphasized that the Iranian government and Parliament have a certain policy, which is to increase trade volume with neighboring and regional countries.
One of the central policies of the incumbent Iranian government is to develop relations with neighbors as there are many cultural, economic and political commonalities and ample opportunities for economic cooperation.
President Raeisi has made multiple regional trips since taking office in August last year to show his determination for rapprochement with neighbors. He visited Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Qatar and Oman and hosted the leaders of Qatar, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in Tehran. These trips resulted in 67 memoranda of understanding and cooperation agreements.
The policy of bolstering cooperation with neighbors has brought a great deal of success and significantly contributed to the country’s economy amid U.S. sanctions.
The tripartite gas swap agreement from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan through Iran’s territory, as well as the launch of the first Kazakhstan-Iran-Turkey transit train were among the most remarkable achievements in cooperation with neighbors.
Iran’s trade with its neighbors has also grown significantly as a result of the government’s policy of rapprochement with neighbors. The Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade has announced that Iran’s trade balance remained in surplus, with $606 million, in the first quarter of the Iranian calendar year (starting on March 21).
On July 12, Iran’s Customs Administration maintained that the volume of trade between Iran and Uzbekistan registered a 103 percent growth in the previous Iranian calendar year compared to the year before. In the same period, Iran’s exports to Turkey doubled, according to Deputy Trade Minister Peymanpak.
Even though the volume of trade between Tehran and its neighbors has grown significantly over the past year, it is still too far off from meeting an annual trade target of $200 billion.
Iran possesses great capacities for cooperating with neighboring and regional countries in the areas of energy, knowledge-based technologies, tourism, medical services, small industries, defense industries, transit, etc. Nevertheless, meeting the target needs modernization of some of Iran’s faulty internal structures, coordination between sectors, while including the private sector to unveil and utilize new capacities.
At the same time, it is best to continue diplomatic movements to ease misunderstandings or alleviate concerns of neighboring and regional countries so that political ties may become a bridge for economic cooperation.