Iran VP boosts trade links with Azerbaijan during Baku visit
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept.27 / Trend, T.Jafarov /
The goal of the Iranian vice-president's visit to Azerbaijan, which began today, is to increase economic cooperation between the two countries, the Head of the Iranian Presidential Apparatus' department for control over economic issues and Assistant to Iranian Vice-President Aliaga Mohammadi said on his arrival in Baku.
"The goal of the visit is to raise the level of economic cooperation to the level of political relations," Mohammadi said.
He said the visit could boost the development of economic relations between the two countries.
The Iranian delegation, members of which represent various spheres of the Iranian economy, will discuss the joint development of industry, trade, science, rail transportation, energy, healthcare, banking, customs, air passenger transport, free trade zones in detail.
During the governmental delegation's previous visit to Azerbaijan the Iranian government confirmed that construction of the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway will be accelerated. Construction of the railway is part of the North-South railway project.
"We hope that in the next two years, the construction of railway will be completed. It is necessary to built 8.7 kilometers of railway in Azerbaijan. We hope that during this visit we will make an agreement on the construction of this part of the railway," Mohammadi said.
The North-South transport corridor envisages creation of a single railway transportation from Europe through Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran to India and South-East Asia. More than $400 million will be required to implement the project. Most of the work will be done in Iran, which has no rail link to the border with Azerbaijan. Certain work worth $35-40 million is planned to be conducted in Azerbaijan.
The scope of work in Azerbaijan envisages the construction of a railway station at Astara with systems of changing of wheel pairs, a bridge and border and customs infrastructure. However, this project will be implemented on a parity basis with Iran.
The value of goods to the transported through the corridor during its first phase has been forecast at $5 million a year, with a further increase to $10-15 million a year.
Mohammadi said that the construction could be undertaken jointly. The construction of the railway connecting Azerbaijan and Iran will increase the amount of cargo transportation.
Another issue that will be discussed in Baku is Iranian investment in the Azerbaijani economy, including the production of wagons and rails. Iran also intends to invest in the construction of power plants and pipelines in Azerbaijan.
"I hope that as a result of the implementation of the program for development of cooperation, trade between our countries in the first phase will hit $5 billion, and then we plan to increase this figure to $10 billion," Mohammadi said.