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Official: Iran Imports Topped 21 Billion Dollars Last Year

Deputy Minister of commerce and Head of Iran Export Promotion Center Mojtaba Khosrotaj said in Tashkent that Iran imports exceeded dlrs 21 billion in the last Iranian year (ended March 20), IRNA reported.

Khosrotaj who was speaking at the initial session of the 5th Iran-Uzbekistan Joint Economic and Trade Session added that Iran's non-oil exports topped dlrs 5 billion and included over 27,000 items exported to 160 nations.

On Iran trade with Uzbekistan, he added during 1992-2002 the two countries signed over 36 cooperation documents "which is token of the two countries' official determination for closer ties."

In the past year Iran imported goods worth dlrs 45 million from Uzbekistan while exporting dlrs 80 million to that country, Khosrotaj underlined.

Khosrotaj also surmised that given the potentials of the two countries the volume of trade between them is too low and has to be expanded.

He pointed to shortcoming of high tariffs on goods and services and transpiration costs, difficulties in currency transfer and conversion and issuance of visas for Iranian nationals as the main obstacles in attaining higher trade and investments between the wto nations.

He said Iranian companies have good capabilities in implementing industrial and developmental projects.

Deputy Head of Uzbek Foreign trade Organization Islam Qojayov said bilateral trade between the two countries has increased fourfold in the past four years.

He said that setting up processing food factories as well as pharmaceuticals and construction material industries are among the most important projects under review in Uzbekistan.

He said that Uzbekistan attracted over dlrs 650 million of foreign investments in 2002 and predicted a bright prospects this year for foreign investments.

He said the 5th Iran-Uzbekistan joint Economic and Trade Commission is a fertile ground for expansion of bilateral trade.

The upcoming Iran-Uzbekistan economic commission meeting is to be held on May 16-20 in Tashkent.

Iranian Commerce Minister Hossein Shariatmadari will head Iran's delegation while the Uzbek side will be led by deputy prime minister, Rustam Younisev.

The commission's session is to focus on removing hurdles to higher economic and trade relations between the two countries, notably in preferential tariffs as well as other areas including expansion of tourism. The previous commission session was held in Tehran last year.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov's visit to Iran would mark an important event in bilateral relations and would help expansion of two-way ties, Tehran and Tashkent have previously announced.

Karimov paid official visits to Iran during his presidency in 1993 and 2000. No specific date has yet been set for his next visit to Tehran.

Iran has meanwhile donated 65 water pumps to several Uzbek provinces according to a report released by the public relations department of Uzbekistan's International Environment Foundation.

Once the pumps are installed, healthy water supply will be provided in faraway areas of the provinces.

The first party of the donated pumps consisting of 35 sets along with some humanitarian relief dispatched by a caravan titled `The Health Train' was transmitted to Karakalpakastan Autonomous Republic and Aral lake coast in Western Uzbekistan via Tashkent within the past two months.

Donations of Iranian government to the residents of Aral lake coasts and other areas in Uzbekistan consisted of 100 water pumps, worth dlrs 150,000.

... Payvand News - 5/18/03 ... --

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