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Iran's WTO bid requires expansion of electronic commerce

Tehran, May 28, IRNA-An economy official said here Saturday that Iran's bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) requires expanding the groundwork for electronic commerce (EC) in the country.

Deputy economy minister for planning and economic affairs Farhad Dezpand told reporters that international organizations place high priority on a developed EC in countries.

"Strengthening of the EC industry will greatly facilitate Iran's entry into the international trade body." He also expressed hope that Iran's full membership will be accomplished within five-years. "Iran's trade strategy for joining the WTO has been delineated," the official added.

He said that Tehran in joining the WTO will boost its competitiveness in international markets.

Dezpand further said that US sanctions on Iran is a diversionary measure in promotion of free trade.

"Currently many US companies are willing to cooperate with Iran in EC, but the sanction issue thwarts this potentially lucrative partnership." "Iran's share in world-wide EC is meager because we have not prepared the necessary telecommunication and electronic groundwork for a vibrant EC market," he stated.

Iran's Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Mohammad Reza Alborzi is to attend the WTO sessions as an observer member, it was declared on Thursday following the Organization agreeing to start Iran's membership talks.

Some 148 WTO members agreed on Thursday to start talks on Iran's accession to the organization.

Following the decision, Iran's ambassador to the WTO was invited to attend the WTO's General Council which is to be held behind closed doors.

Calling the move as positive, Alborzi said the issue of Iran's membership in the organization had been rejected many times before.

The move opens new doors for expansion of mutual economic cooperation between Iran and the European Union, he said.

For the first time ever the United States of America did not veto Iran's application to join the organization.

Some Western diplomats believe that the move is considered as a remarkable concession (for Iran) as a result of successful talks between Iran and the European Union on the country's nuclear programs.

Alborzi however underlined that there is no deal between Iran and the European Union on nuclear issue and the move should not been viewed as a green light for Iran's accession to the WTO, he said.

Iran's efforts to join the multilateral organization have been stymied 20 times by the United States in recent years.

In December the World Trade Organization agreed to begin accession talks with Iraq and Afghanistan, but the United States again blocked any such negotiations with Iran.

In March in a dramatic U-turn last month, the United States offered to allow Iran to start talks on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) and consider letting it buy civilian airliner parts as part of incentives to Tehran over its nuclear cooperation.

... Payvand News - 5/29/05 ... --

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