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Infrastructure and related issues affecting trade flows with India to be resolved soon

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NEW DELHI : The Hon’ble Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Islamic Republic of Iran, H E Dr Hossien Amir-Abdollahian in Mumbai interacted with the EXIM Community on the upcoming trade opportunities in Iran. FIEO in association with UCO Bank organised this very important interactive session, which was also attended by some senior level dignitaries from Iran and about 200 exporters.

Addressing the exporter’s community Hon’ble Minister of Foreign Affairs said that, “It is indeed a pleasure to be in India and amongst you all trade entrepreneurs today.” The Minister appreciated the presence of Women Entrepreneurs for the session and mentioned women entrepreneurs to be more successful trade facilitators. The Minister specially mentioned & appreciated the efforts of FIEO for organising the wonderful and spectacular show.

Mentioning the strong trade and cultural ties of India and Iran, the Hon’ble Minister stated that, “The 1st ever diplomatic mission of Iran across the world was established in Mumbai and since then the relationship has nurtured and expanded gradually. This is with the determination of the diplomatic leadership of both the countries to further develop relationships not only in trade but also across all the strategic fronts. As a result of which the ties between the two nations have been strong, durable and long lasting.

The Foreign Affairs Minister informed that during the meeting and interaction with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and the National Security Advisor, he discussed upon development of sustainable ties between two nations and concluded with certain strong and positive agreements. The Hon’ble Minister highlighted that, “The economies of India and Iran do not compete with each other; rather they complement each other.” During the meeting with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India yesterday, a great emphasis on the ancient relationship of India and Iran was referred to and the Trade Community present today is a driving force of this relation. This trade relationship can be further endured by the Indian diaspora in Iran and vice-a-versa.

The Hon’ble Minister informed that during this meeting they would like to address the challenges and bottlenecks faced by the Trade Communities in India while doing trade with Iran. Iran will be providing all necessary infrastructural facilities, one such effort on the infrastructural front is the Port of Chabahar. They would like to encourage the investment in this Port by the Iranian counterparts in India. He also informed that in continuation to the present visit, to develop the trade between the two countries a Delegation from Iran will be visiting India shortly.

Earlier welcoming the Chief Guest and Exim Community, Shri Nandkishor Kagliwal, Regional Chairman, FIEO (WR) said, “There is a strong need of international political negotiations wherein sanctions on Iran may either be relaxed to some extent or an explicit interpretation of narrow exemption on Chabahar port may be rolled out by US. This will strengthen the movement of cargo through the INSTC route. An attempt should be made to explore traditional mechanisms of trade like barter trade, so as to defeat the implication of sanctions.”

During the keynote address, Dr A Sakthivel, President, FIEO said, “Both countries are looking for a Preferential Trade Agreement, with a focus on diversifying the bilateral trade basket to include manufacturing, services and light engineering items. The PTA will allow the two countries to cut tariffs on each other’s products. India & Iran are active players in the INSTC corridor which has assumed greater importance in view of war between Russia and Ukraine. There is a need to bring Chabahar also under the INSTC so as to forge partnership with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries besides using the important route of Bandar Abbas. Indian exporters are keen to use the route which reduces voyage time to Central Asia by 40% and cost by 30%. Unfortunately, no single agency has come forward to provide an end to end solution to the logistics. The security of the cargo throughout the route has also been highlighted as a key concern. We will urge the Hon’ble Minister to look into the same and coordinate with other countries as well to push increasing cargo through this route.”

Shri Unmesh Sharad Wagh, Dy. Chairman, JNPA, provided a brief insight on the recent developments in the Port of Chabahar.

Concluding the interactive session, Shri Khalid Khan, Vice President, FIEO mentioned, “Although the bilateral trade has declined over the past few years, what matters is the positive approach our governments have when it comes to strengthening and promoting our bilateral trade. Having a positive approach is the first step towards achieving positive outcomes.” He also stated, “Hon’ble Prime Minister always inspires us to find opportunities in difficulties and focus on solutions rather than problems. India-Iran trade is a real example to this, wherein both the nations always tried to find opportunities in their most difficult situation, and it assures that this spirit will continue for the years to come”

An informative interactive session on banking issues, sanctions and other shortcomings for the trade were discussed and responded to by the Iranian Officials.

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