Transit of goods to other countries via Iran increased 38 percent in the first eight months of the current Iranian year (started March 21), head of Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) announced.
“In the said time span, about seven million tons of goods were transited, marking a 53 percent growth in terms of weight compared to the corresponding period of the last year. In 2009, about seven million tons of goods worth $24.6 billion were transited abroad, posting an increase of 19 and 28 percents in terms of weight and value, respectively compared to 2008,” added Hamid Safdel in the national conference themed ‘transit of goods in line with advancement’, IRNA reported.
He cited China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and the UAE as the most important countries whose goods were transited via Iranian territories last year. “As a whole the share of the said countries in transit of goods via Iran amounts to 57 percent,” he noted. The official recalled that in the first half of this year, about five million tons of goods were transited via Iran.
“Iraq’s share was 19 percent, China’s share reached 15 percent, Turkmenistan accounted for 12 percent and the UAE’s share was eight percent,” he noted.
He recalled that there still exist no exact statistics about role of transit of goods in generating new job opportunities nationwide.
“It is reported that last year for each one million ton of goods transited via Iran, direct and indirect job opportunities were generated for 20,000 people. Let us bear in mind that with transit of 10 million tons of goods via Iranian territories, about 200,000 new job opportunities will be generated and the needed measures should be adopted to this end.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Safdel said based on calculations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2009 Iran’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009 was $343 billion.
“The value of goods transited last year is about $25 billion. This figure constitutes seven percent of the GDP. If this figure is assumed to be at least 20 percent of the value of transited goods, the share of transit in GDP will be 1.5 percent, which is quite significant and clearly hints at the importance of transit sector in generating income for the country,” he noted. The official said transit consists of transport of goods by ground, air and sea or railroad.
“A portion of the national income is procured through flight of airplanes in various countries’ airspaces and airline companies are duty-bound to pay for these costs based on a particular formulation. Iran’s income from flights of transit airplanes in some years was estimated at $90 million to $100 million and the figure has the potential to increase. This is while Turkey, India and Malaysia every year earn billions of dollars via flights of airplanes in their airspaces,” he pointed out.
He recalled that transit is among the most important sources for generating income and new job opportunities in most countries.
“Research conducted in the US shows that investment in the public transportation and transit sectors yields more favorable results in terms of generating new employment opportunities compared to other sectors. In advanced countries each one billion dollars of investment n transit-related projects creates 31,400 job opportunities, which is a very high figure,” he said He recalled that in 2009 America allocated $90 billion for reducing the unemployment rate stemming from the ongoing global economic downturn.
“This money is designated for implementing projects linked to transit sector, including constructing roads, water passages and jetties,” he noted.
He said some countries like Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Butane, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chad, Paraguay, Serbia, Ethiopia, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Zambia are landlocked and face a critical situation regarding transit of goods.
“Some of the said countries are located near Iran. This creates a favorable opportunity for Iran to remove transit needs of these countries in full. More fundamental moves should be adopted in this case (by the country),” he said.
He recalled that due to its 8,700 km of borders with its neighbors, Iran possesses a unique status in terms of transit of goods and making proper use of this opportunity necessitates long-term plans, investing in building related infrastructures and active interaction with the regional economies.
He emphasized that Iran is the most suitable transit route for transport of energy to Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Europe and some regional countries.
Gas Export to Turkey Hit Records
Iran’s natural gas exports to its northwestern neighbor Turkey hit records, deputy oil minister said.
“Iran has so far this year exported an average of more than 30 million cubic meters (mcm) of natural gas per day to Turkey,” Javad Oji told Mehr News Agency on Friday.
The new figure shows a daily increase of 10 to 11 million cubic meters this year, compared to last year, when Iran exported an average of 21 million cubic meters of natural gas each day, he added.
Oji, who is also the managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company, said Iran is ready to increase its export rates by 50 percent due to the freezing winter weather across Europe.
Earlier this month, Oji said Iran’s daily production of natural gas reached 600 million cubic meters this year.
The Iranian official went on to note that the country’s power plants receive gas from eight phases of the South Pars gas field.
“This level of production has been realized due to the diligence of the country’s oil and gas experts, while before the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, joint gas fields were not exploited,” he said on December 10.
The official also predicted that Iran’s gas production is expected to double within four years.
Iran has the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia and is Turkey’s second-biggest supplier after Moscow.
Kish Stock Exchange Inaugurated
Iran has inaugurated the Kish Stock Exchange in the southern Iranian island to facilitate foreign investment and monetary activities, economy minister said.
Shamseddin Hosseini told reporters on Friday that private investors have allocated a building complex to different economic sectors in Kish.
“Iran has made efforts to relax constraining official regulations” to attract more foreign investment, he said, noting that such investments increased 95 percent in the country, Presstv reported.
Hosseini also pointed out that Iran has modified and developed general and “key economic policies” during the past years.
Referring to the targeted subsidiary plans, the minister echoed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s prediction that the program would profit economic sectors, adding that it would also save billions of dollars in fuel consumption.
The targeted subsidiary plans will eventually slash all government subsidies in place since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The implementation of the plan began in the country on Sunday. President Ahmadinejad said last week that the plans were guaranteed to lead to a better economy, since people would start saving on energy consumption, making it possible to export the extra reserves and pump the money back into the country’s economy. The president also reasoned that higher prices would encourage people to use less fuel and cause less harm to the environment -- especially in heavily-polluted Tehran.
Under the new rationing system, the price of gasoline will rise by fourfold from 1,000 rials (10 cents) per liter to 4,000 rials (40 cents) per liter as of Sunday.
Fuel beyond a person’s quota -- which is 50 liters per month -- is now sold at 7,000 rials (70 cents) per liter.
Iran, China Upbeat on Improving Trade Ties
Iran’s ambassador to China said volume of bilateral trade with China is about $30 billion per year.
“The presidents of both countries have underlined the need for bolstering two way trade ties. It is obvious that with the diligence and efforts of the two countries’ businessmen and merchants this figure can increase to $100 billion in the coming years,” added Safari, who was addressing the one-day confab on examining Iran-China economic and trade cooperation in Beijing at the presence of a number of Iranian merchants, businessmen and economic activists, IRNA reported.
He emphasized that political and economic officials of Iran and China have a common understanding about expanding mutual bonds.
The envoy recalled that apart from selling oil, a large volume of the two countries’ trade exchanges pertains to China’s exports to Iran and it is crucial to appeal to Chinese firms to invest in Iranian undertakings.
The confab was sponsored by the Council Iranian Merchants Residing in China. The participants exchanged viewpoints about ways of expanding and deepening two-way trade ties.
Gasoline Consumption Falls
Gasoline consumption in the country fell by 10.6 million liters just one day after the implementation of the economic reform plan.
The Iranian government on Sunday launched the targeted subsidies plan, which will eventually slash all government subsidies in place since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The gasoline consumption on Saturday was 63.9 million liters and reached 53.3 million liters on Sunday, according to data by the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company published on the Oil Ministry’s website Shana.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced last week the launch of his economic reform plan that is aimed at overhauling Iran’s economy by phasing out energy and food subsidies.
Under the plan, which went into effect on Sunday, all subsidies are to be gradually removed during a five-year period.
Int’l Jewelry Expo
The third international exhibition on gold, jewelry and silver kicked off in Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds on Friday.