During the past two decades, free and special economic zones have played an important role in the Iranian economy, and the Iranian government has seriously pursued a program of developing existing zones and creating new ones.
According to Morteza Bank, the former secretary of the High Council of Iranian Free Zones, more than 40% of Iran’s exports go through the country’s free trade zones and special economic zones and $ 169 billion in products from Iran. base have been exported from these regions over the past seven years. .
The development of the mentioned areas has become more important since the reimposition of US sanctions on the Iranian economy in November 2018, as the Islamic Republic began to reduce its dependence on oil revenues while increasing its domestic production and non-oil exports.
Although the sanctions disrupted Iran’s economic activities, they could not hinder the development of Iranian free trade and special economic zones; in fact, the development of these areas has even accelerated.
Earlier on Thursday, President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated 94 development projects worth 60 trillion rials (about $ 1.42 billion) in the country’s free trade zones and special economic zones through ‘a videoconference.
Covering a variety of areas such as tourism, oil and gas, industry, production, renewable energy and power plants, fisheries and agriculture, the mentioned projects have been implemented in the areas of Qeshm, Chabahar, Aras, Arvand, Salafchegan and Payam.
It was the fourth round of inaugurations in the country’s free trade zones and special economic zones since the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 20).
During the three previous rounds of inaugurations in the free and special economic zones of the country, 163 projects representing a total investment of 340 trillion rials (about 8.095 billion dollars) had been inaugurated.
The measures taken by the government for the development of the mentioned areas have borne fruit significantly so that despite the negative impacts of the US sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, the trade balance of the mentioned areas has remained positive in recent years.
At the end of April, the secretary of the High Council of Iranian Free Zones, Hamidreza Mo’meni, announced that the trade balance of the country’s free and special economic zones had been positive for the past two years despite the country’s negative foreign trade balance.
Today, the free zones are in good condition and positive development measures have been taken that have led to significant growth in these zones, the official said.
He further announced the creation of a finance council within the Higher Council of Iranian Free Zones, saying that advisory groups will soon be sent to all free zones in the country and that the zones will be able to access sustainable financial resources for the implementation of new development programs.
According to the official, the country’s free and economic zones should become more productive so that they can finance their own development projects in the future.
The establishment of free trade zones in Iran dates back to Iranian calendar year 1368 (March 1989-March 1990) following the decline in the country’s oil revenues the previous year which prompted the government to promote non-oil exports.
Iran’s first two free trade zones were established in the south of the country. The first was the Kish Free Trade Area established in 1368 on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf and the second was the Qeshm Free Trade Area established the following year on Qeshm Island in the Strait. of Ormuz.
Since then, five other free trade zones have also been established in the country, including Chabahar in the southeast of Sistan-Baluchistan province, Arvand in the southwest of Khuzestan province, Anzali in the north of Gilan Province, Aras in East Azarbaijan Province and Maku in West Azarbaijan. Province, both located in the north-west of the country.
Source: Tehran Times