New page in Iran-Turkey commerce

Tehran, Oct 4, IRNA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Tehran on Wednesday, which is considered a new page in the joint economic collaborations, especially increasing economic cooperation.

Accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Erdogan is accompanied by Minister of Economic Affairs Nihat Zeybekci, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak, Minister of Customs and Trade Bülent Tüfenkci, Minster of the Interior Süleyman Soylu, Minister of Culture and Tourism Numan Kurtulmuş, Deputy Chairman of Justice and Development Party Mehmet Mehdi Eker as well as a group of Turkish investors and traders.

Erdogan is going to talk about bilateral and regional issues.

Being a top priority for President Hassan Rouhani's administration, expansion of ties with Iran's neighbors has brought about such a convergence in Iran-Turkey relations that the two countries have set a $30 billion target for their trades.

During Rouhani's presidency (past four years), Iranian and Turkish presidents have traveled to each other's countries once. This is the second time Erdogan visits Iran in the past three years.

President Rouhani had visited Turkey one year prior to Erdogan's visit and the two presidents visited each other during Organization Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Istanbul last year, during which, Iran and Turkey signed eight agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs).

Besides, the two presidents have met five more times on the sidelines of international meetings in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, New York, and Istanbul over past four years, they have also been in touch through phone contacts to discuss major bilateral issues and regional developments, which, directly or indirectly, signify the important relations between the two countries and the necessity to expand them.

According to Iran's ambassador to Turkey Mohammad-Ebrahim Taherian-Fard, in all the aforementioned meetings, the two presidents have stressed the $30 billion commerce target. He also said that Iran and Turkey enjoy common views in most of the fields.

Taherian-Fard said that the relations between the two countries are expanding, which can have great influence on prosperity of the Iranian and Turks and realization of peace and stability in the region.

Apart from the shared cultural commonalities and Tehran-Ankara political convergences, strategic locations of the two countries and their importance in economic ties have caused increasing intimacy between Iran and Turkey.

Iran's geopolitical situation in the Middle East and Turkey's being the gateway to Europe have added to the importance of the convergence.

Turkey is a Eurasian country consisting of two parts: the Asian part, that is, Anatolia or Asia Minor, and the European part, which is called Thracia.

Turkey enjoys a great geographical strategic location and is considered a pathway of Southwestern Asia and Eastern Europe; many countries, especially Iran, use the Turkish territory to transit goods and energy.

The Chairman of Iran-Turkey Chamber Reza Kami said, according to official statistics of Turkey, the transactions between Iran and Turkey were more than $ 7.25 billion in the first eight months of 2017.

The balance included $5.15 billion worth Turkey's import from Iran and $ 2.1 billion worth Iran's import from Turkey, Kami added.

Reminding the $30 billion target set for the transactions, he said, 'We saw the biggest trade balance in 2014, that is, $22 billion; but due to the sanctions on Iran and the relative recession in the country, we experienced a dip in the economic relations.'

'Despite the good record of political relations, the two countries lack a deep knowledge of each other's potentials and capacities. It is needed to make up for the shortcoming through expanding bilateral ties and holding exhibitions.'

According to the statistics published by Iran's customs office, Turkey stood third in exporting goods to Iran in the first year of the Iranian years (starting March 20, 2017) with $ 1.678 billion.

In the previous Iranian year (starting on March 21, 2016), Turkey imported $2.4 billion of goods from Iran, ranking fourth. In the same year, Iran exported $3.7 billion to Turkey making it the third bid destination of Iranian goods and energy; most important part of Iranian export to Turkey includes petrochemical and petroleum products.

Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance and acting head of the Iran's Customs Administration Foroud Asgari had already announced that some measures have been taken in the field of customs, as well as economic and commercials policies, to increase mutual trade to $30 billion per annum.

Last week, Iran and Turkey also agreed on eight major issues in customs cooperation, including the complete elimination of the certificate of origin for Iranian goods in the Turkish consulates, the round-the-clock customs activities of Gürbulak-Bazargan customs, the exchange of online X-ray images, the transit of Turkish trucks from Iran as the Turkish border closes with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, establishing a transit facility for goods from Turkey to Qatar, a joint fight against drug trafficking, collaboration to revive the Silk Road Project, and information exchange in the framework of a virtual gateway.

Three customs points are active on the Iran-Turkey border: Bazargan-Gürbulak, Razi-Kapikoy, and Serow-Esendere.

Iran and Turkey enjoy a lot of similarities and commonalities that necessitate that the two countries support each other in different areas.

Translated by: Hossein Abolghasemi

Edited by: Hamid Shamlou

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