Iranian AFTZ to become an investment hub for Caspian Sea littoral states

Azerbaijan , Baku, Feb. 28 / Trend, A.Yusifzade /

With the inauguration of Iran Commodity Exchange in Anzali Free Trade Zone (AFTZ), the region can become an investment hub for Caspian Sea littoral states the managing director of Anzali Free Trade Zone Organization (AFTZO) Alireza Bahmani said on Sunday, Iran Daily reported.

"With the import of over 5.5 million tons of iron products (via Anzali), some 60 percent of the country's needs are met. Furthermore, through the imports of about 200,000 tons of wood and panel, over 65 percent of Iran's needs are realized," Bahmani added.

He recalled that for the first time in the country receipts of iron products are being traded in the Anzali Bourse, IRNA reported.

"In addition to iron, all goods that are currently being traded in the country's bourse are accepted in Anzali Bourse and in next stages wood and tea would also be accepted in this regional bourse," Bahmani said.

The official noted that bourse is among the most important tools for improving transparency of the capital market and presence in international markets.

"Given its legal advantages and exemptions, this region creates more incentives for presence of foreign private sector investors. The possibility for registering... representations of foreign companies, entry and departure of foreign investors without issuance of visa and tax exemptions have created distinct conditions for domestic and foreign businessmen," he noted.

Iron Market

AFTZ plays a major part in transparency of prices of iron products nationwide, he underlined.
Upon formation of this capital market in the region, this bourse can help pave the grounds for expanding trade ties with chambers of commerce, bourses and businessmen of the Caspian Sea littoral states, Bahmani noted.

Furthermore, the role of AFTZ and Gilan province in the iron market of the Caspian Sea region will be enhanced, he noted.

He cited other effects of activities of AFTZ Goods Bourse as a boost in trade and commercial activities in the region and also Gilan province, expansion of volume of transit and export and import of products, which by itself entails expansion of banking, insurance and international trade activities.

Bahmani underlined the effective part of Ports and Maritime Directorate in launching the national goods bourse in AFTZ.

"With expanding and deepening cooperation among provincial organizations, in addition to an industrial, trade and industrial boom at the regional level, we will witness more productive jobs opportunities generated in Gilan province," he concluded.

Gilan Railroad

Earlier this year, Gilan Governor-General Rouhollah Qahramani-Chabok told Persian daily Iran that upon the exploitation of Gilan railroad, Anzali will turn into the largest port in Eurasia region.

With the construction of this fundamental plan, Iran can play its role in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), Qahramani-Chabok said.

Cargo transit via this port in the last Iranian year (ended March 20) increased 2 million tons against the previous year, he said, adding the current figure of 7 million tons will rise to 11 million tons once the project comes on stream.

The project is expected to become operational in 2012.

For implementing Qazvin-Rasht-Anzali plan, which will link Russia to Iran via Azerbaijan, 42 kilometers of double rail track, more than 11 kilometers of tunnel, and four big bridges have been planned.

The port's infrastructure is already capable of handling its role, as it is connected to five power stations and has an international airport 15 miles away in Rasht, capital of Iran's Gilan province and Iran's largest city on the Caspian.

AFTZ covers approximately 12.3 square miles, with nearly 5 miles of shoreline and docks including industrial, trade, tourism and service zones.

Gilan province is first producer of Tea, Cocoon and Olive in Iran, also producer of different kinds of fish and superfine Caviar in the world, Rice, Kiwi, Olive, Composites, Peanut, Hazelnut, Walnut, Tobacco, Flowers and Plants, Honey, Herbs like Borage, Animal Husbandry, Handcrafts, Crude oil and Gas resources.

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