Dubai, May 8, IRNA-UAE Minister of Economy and Planning said in Dubai on Saturday that increase in contacts between Iranian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) businessmen are important for mutual trade.
Sheika Lubna Al Qassemi, speaking on the sidelines of the opening of Iran Trade Center in Dubai told IRNA that expansion of trade between the two nations is a desirable goal.
Iran attaches importance to its products showcased at international exhibitions who have the International Seal of Standards, the minister said.
The presence of Iranian exporters at the International Trade Center in Dubai is indicative of Iran's good quality products, the UAE's economy minister added.
Official figures indicate the bilateral trade stood at dlrs seven billion in 2004.
She also said that the bilateral ties in all areas, notably investments and trade, are cordial and expressed hope that the center will facilitate the expansion of relations between the two Persian Gulf nations.
The center started operation today with the presence of Iranian and UAE trade ministers. Several UAE and Iranian officials were also present at the centers' opening ceremonies.
The center's aims are in line with the goals of Iran Development Exports Organization (IDTO) to boost Iran's non-oil exports.
Iran has constantly ranked as important reexport partner with other Persian Gulf emirates including Dubai and Sharjah in the recent years.
The volume of Iran-UAE trade exchange is to rise by 53.2 percent to about 16.10 billion dirhams in 2004 compared to 2003.
Abu Dhabi's re-exports to Iran had surmounted to dlrs 10 million in the first three months of the year.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commerce Minister for international trade rejected in January the ban on reexport from the Persian Gulf port of Dubai as a means to curb smuggling of consumer goods and boost economic activities in free trade zones.
Khosrowtaj said that the country should capitalize on the potentials of Dubai market, which facilitate and provide economical trade opportunities to Iranian entrepreneurs.
"A halt to reexport ties with Dubai is uneconomical and will increase the costs of our purchases," the official said.
Khosrowtaj added that proper policies should be taken to reduce costs and ease financial burden of trade.
He further said that exporters prefer to purchase inexpensive goods from cheaper sources, adding that Iran's trade with UAE suffers from mismanagement.
He put the number of Iranian companies active in Dubai at 2,000, adding that unofficial statistics indicate that over 4,500 Iranian firms have invested in this Persian Gulf port.
As to the reasons for lack of willingness on the part of wealthy Iranian businessmen to make investment in the domestic market, he said the US and European companies active in banking and transportation services are to be blamed.
"During the post-revolution era, the US and European firms have supported the United Arab Emirate (UAE) as a new trade hub to rival Iran," he added.
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