Iran, Singapore set to restore prosperity to trade ties

Tehran, April 7, IRNA- The 10-percent growth in Iran-Singapore trade ties during March 21-November 21, 2017, compared to the figure for the same period of the preceding year, shows that both governments are focused on expanding economic relations.

In this period, trade between the two countries reached $487 million. This is evidently to restore bilateral trade relations to the level prior to the intensification of cruel Western sanctions on Iran.

Singapore was among the Southeast Asian states which managed to achieve a significant economic growth in 2017.

In 2017, the economic growth of this island city-state gathered greater momentum. Increasing economic growth rate by three percent is a main priority of Singaporean officials in 2018. To achieve this, Singapore is required to have more economic interactions with neighboring states and other countries.

Increasing the capacities for economic cooperation as well as making joint investments were among the targets of officials of Iran and Singapore to expand trade relations by removing the obstacles.

“We are attempting to work out an effective solution to establish banking relations between the two countries,” said the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Gholamhossein Shafe’i earlier, in a meeting with Singapore’s non-resident ambassador to Tehran, Ong Keng Yong.

Prior to the tightening of sanctions, Singapore cooperated with Iran in the oil and energy sectors as well as providing techno-engineering services. At present, the country seeks an active presence in the Iranian market given the new atmosphere in the Middle Eastern state and its foreign relations in the post-JCPOA era.

Singapore dispatched a 20-member delegation of businessmen and traders to Iran last year to indicate its determination to strengthen trade-economic relations with Tehran.

The members of this team were mainly involved in the fields of producing aluminum composite panels, steel and titanium, dye, petrochemicals and furniture, investment, hotel construction and management, capital management as well as providing legal and financial consultation.

In addition, four conferences held in Tehran and Singapore last year were well received by Iranian and Singaporean officials as well as managers of the two countries’ private companies and economic organizations.

Efforts by Iran and Singapore aimed at expansion of economic cooperation in the post-sanctions era are expected to result in greater participation of the latter’s investment companies in projects of the former’s renewable energies sector as well as closer collaborations between the two states and increased joint activities in the fields of oil and gas production, information technology as well as development of port and ship building industries.

Based on Iran’s economic diplomacy doctrine and its special attitude toward East Asia, increasing trade and economic transactions with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the world’s fifth largest economy, is of utmost significance for the Islamic Republic.

The importance of Iran’s relations with Singapore also lies in the fact that the latter currently holds the ASEAN chairmanship.

The Southeast Asian state can provide Iran with the opportunity to expand relations with 10 members of ASEAN.

According to statistics, trade between Iran and ASEAN members declined to $4.95 billion and, then, $2.86 billion per annum respectively during the sanctions era, from $10.8 billion per year.

However, since the signing of the JCPOA (July 2015) and the implementation of the deal (January 2016), trade between Iran and Singapore has been witnessing an increasing trend.

Singapore’s willingness to expand cooperation with Iran was evident from the international prize the country awarded former Iranian minister of economic affairs and finance, Ali Tayyebnia.

The field of electronic communication is another area in which Singaporeans have expressed willingness to collaborate with Iran.

A favorable atmosphere has been created for enhancing cooperation between the two countries in the light of Iran’s unique capacities and potentials such as its creative young population, geopolitical and geo-economic situation, standard and expanded infrastructure and highly capable private sector.

Southern Iranian ports as well as the country’s railroad and road networks provide easy access to Central Asia, the Caucasus and Iraq which are lucrative markets for Singaporean traders and businessmen.

Also in February 2017, the two countries’ parliaments gave a nod to implementing an agreement to support and promote joint investments in Iran and Singapore. Singapore also maintains a positive attitude toward Iran’s special trade zones.

In addition, the two sides’ relations in international arenas have always been based on mutual respect. Singapore can share its expertise and experience with Iran in the field of urban development and management.

Aside from investment and trade, last year, Singapore adopted remarkable political stances and approaches. For instance, in 2017, Singaporean officials warned that Washington’s move to recognize Al-Quds as Israel’s capital will have worrying consequences in the Middle East.

Earlier, the speaker of the Parliament of Republic of Singapore, Tan Chuan-Jin, said Iran played a praiseworthy role in expelling Daesh terrorists from Iraq.

In general, the two states’ favorable political and economic relations are expected to help bring prosperity to their trade ties helping transactions between Iran and Singapore reach pre-sanctions level. In 2012, trade between the two sides stood at $6.6 billion.

Iran exports pistachio, nuts, different kinds of oil, carpet, bitumen, date, common fig and raisin to Singapore, while importing raw soy oil, sunflower seed oil, corn, sugar and sugar cube, compressors for automobile’s air conditioning system, digging and excavation machinery, mechanical devices and cast iron, steel and iron products.

The above report was first published by IRNA in Persian.

Source: Iran Daily

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