Iran, Azerbaijan to expand bilateral relations focusing on trade ties

Iran and Azerbaijan have been seeking to further expand their commercial, economic and trade ties against all odds. The two neighbours are getting closer each day and want to cement their relations.

4 August 2019
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Iran and Azerbaijan have been seeking to further expand their commercial, economic and trade ties against all odds. The two neighbours are getting closer each day and want to cement their relations.

Irans Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani, middle right, holds talks with Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev in Baku on Saturday. IRNA

Iran is ready to further develop its cooperation with Azerbaijan, said the county’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani as the two nations eye closer ties.

“Trade exchanges have seen good growth over the past year and there are no restrictions for the development of cooperation between the two countries as our officials are willing to do so,” said Reza Rahmani, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade on Saturday in a meeting with Azerbaijan Economy Minister Shahiin Mustafayev.

Rahmani stressed that Tehran is ready to expand its ties with Azerbaijan through joint industrial projects. “The joint car-manufacturing project between both countries is a symbol of bilateral economic cooperation,” he mentioned.

Back in April Tehran and Baku signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly manufacture bus and lorries.

The joint venture is expected to produce 500 units of different buses in the first phase and 1,000 buses and trucks in the second phase using the Iranian and European Union equipment, according to the Azeri Economy Ministry. The total cost of the project is 10 million euros. In the first stage it is planned to invest 6 million euros and 4 million euros in the second stage.

He reiterated that signed MoUs on car-manufacturing, production of automobile spare parts, pharmaceuticals production and creation of joint industrial zone can be implemented very fast.

The Iranian minister called on the two countries' private sectors to help increase bilateral trade exchanges between Iran and Azerbaijan by identifying targeted export items.

Iran-Azerbaijan Joint Chamber of Commerce has opened a trade center for Iranian economic operators in Baku.

“Iran enjoys good geographical and trade position to connect the North-South Corridor and link Caspian Sea littoral states with Persian Gulf countries as well as with North Africa. We can activate this existing capacity so that both sides benefit from it,” he mentioned.

Iran sits at the heart of International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that connects East to Central Asia and Europe.

Rahmani, who is visiting Azerbaijan, stressed that Iran has good capacities to produce pharmaceuticals that can be used to develop bilateral cooperation.

He went on to reiterate that Iran is ready to share its expertise with Azerbaijani economic operators.

Shahin Mustafayev, who was hosting the Iranian delegation, welcomed bilateral trade cooperation with Iran, saying that his country is prepared to implement all the joint projects very fast.

He encouraged the Iranian and Azerbaijani investors to inject money into industrial development of both countries, stressing that bilateral industrial cooperation has increased 34%.

"Bilateral cooperation is being developed very actively and trade exchanges have grown 74% while they have increased 2.2% during the fist six months of 2019,” Mustafayev added.

There are 1,371 Iranian industrial units in Azerbaijan, according to the Azeri minister.

Development of relations despite US sanctions

Also, Iranian president's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi, also visiting Azerbaijan, stressed that restoration of US punitive measures on Iran last year haven't affected development of bilateral ties and cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan. 

Mahmoud Vaezi, who is in the Azeri capital, expressed hope on Saturday that bilateral relations between Iran and Azerbaijan would further develop.

Iranian president Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi, middle right, holds talks with Azerbaijans Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev in Baku on Saturday. IRNA

Iranian president Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi, middle right, holds talks with Azerbaijans Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev in Baku on Saturday. IRNA

Vaezi is in Azerbaijan to prepare the grounds for next week's trilateral Russia-Azerbaijan-Iran summit that is set to be held in the Russian city of Sochi.

Speaking to Azeri Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev, the senior Iranian government official mentioned that Tehran and Baku are moving towards expanding their relations by connecting the Iranian railways to the Azeri ones, linking their national electrical grids, developing customs cooperation as well as expanding trade, sport and tourism ties.

“Tehran and Baku have good cooperation in pharmaceutical, car manufacturing, joint investment, regional issues and border issues,” noted Vaezi.

Iranian and Azeri presidents have met 12 times over the past five years, according to Vaezi, who called the visits as “foundation of good bilateral relations".

Mustafayev also reiterated that the US sanctions haven’t affected negatively Baku-Tehran ties.

He stressed that Iranian companies in Azerbaijan have grown over the past two years, resulting in a rise in bilateral annual trade volume.

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