TEHRAN – As announced by a provincial official, 80 investment projects in different sectors are currently being implemented in the Maku Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in the northwest province of West Azerbaijan. from Iran.

Arash Yousefzadeh, Director of Investment Attraction, Banking and Insurance Affairs of Maku Free Trade Zone Organization, said that through proper planning and creating suitable investment conditions , these projects are now underway in the area.

Underlining that the necessary infrastructure for investment is now established in the area, the official said that 57 projects in the industrial sector, 16 projects in the agricultural sector and seven projects in the tourism sector in the area are currently being implemented.

He said jobs had been created for 1,879 people in the first phase of the mentioned projects, and estimated the national investment for the projects at more than 10 trillion rials (about $34.5 million) and l foreign investment to 13 million dollars.

As announced by the Director General of the Maku Free Trade Zone Organization, products worth $2.030 billion were exported from the zone in the first half of the Iranian calendar year in course (March 21-September 22, 2021).

Mohammadreza Abdol-Rahimi said the export of non-oil products worth nearly $2.1 billion and the export of gas worth $1.1 billion, imports of goods from $620 million worth and $13.2 billion in transit was carried out by Bazargan customs in the area.

He also highlighted the great capacity of Bazargan Customs to facilitate the country’s international trade and trade among countries in the region.

Maku is one of the seven major free zones in Iran.

It has 140 kilometers of border with the Republic of Azerbaijan and 130 kilometers of border with Turkey.

As Maku is one of the most newly created and also the largest free zones in the country, there is a great need for the creation of infrastructure in this zone.

The creation of free trade zones in Iran dates back to the Iranian calendar year 1368 (March 1989-March 1990) following the fall in the country’s oil revenues the previous year which prompted the government to promote non-oil exports.

Iran’s first two free zones were established in the south of the country. The first was the Kish Free Trade Zone established in 1368 on the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf and the second was the Qeshm Free Trade Zone established the following year on the island of Qeshm in the Strait of Hormuz.

Some five other free trade zones have also been established in the country since then, including Chabahar in southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, Arvand in southwestern Khuzestan province, Anzali in northern Gilan Province, Aras in the Eastern Province of Azerbaijan and Maku in the Western Province of Azerbaijan. , both in the northwest of the country.

Considering the important role that free zones play in promoting the country’s exports and employment, Iran is seriously pursuing the development of its existing zones as well as the creation of new ones.

More development steps in this area have been taken since the US reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy in November 2018, as Iran reduces its reliance on oil revenue while increasing production. domestic and non-oil exports.

Although the sanctions have disrupted Iran’s economic activities, they have not been able to prevent the development of Iranian free zones; in fact, the development of these areas has even accelerated.

Many advances in increasing activities in free zones have played an important role in boosting the country’s non-oil exports and bringing prosperity to other economic sectors.

As the former secretary of Iran’s High Council for Free Zones announced, the trade balance of the country’s free zones and special economic zones has been positive over the past three years.

Hamidreza Mo’meni had also said in early July that new free trade zones should be set up in the country during the current Iranian calendar year (ends March 20, 2022).

“If we can settle the subject of master plans for these zones, I believe that by the end of this year, the new free zones will be added to the existing ones,” he said.