Head of Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (TCCIM) said Wednesday economic bonds with Venezuela’s private sector are not in compliance with suitable two-way political ties.
In a meeting with Venezuelan ambassador to Tehran, David Velasquez Caraballo, Yahya Al-e Eshaq said that exchanges between the two countries should be accelerated.
“Venezuela every year has about $60 billion of economic exchanges with the world. However, despite all the agreements inked between Iran and Venezuela, Iran’s share in these exchanges is less than $100 million. This is while based on agreements between the two states, the minimum economic exchanges of the two sides should be $20 billion per annum. But, unfortunately we still suffer from the slow pace of progress in bilateral economic bonds,” he noted, IRNA reported.
He referred to the joint projects for building housing units in Venezuela by Iranian companies, two-way cooperation in agro and fishery sectors and also the issue of establishment of joint Iran-Venezuela Bank.
“In order to improve expansion of mutual economic ties, the private sectors of the two countries should become more familiar with each other. Despite the good relations between the two governments, the private sectors of the two countries do not have proper information about each other and no relationship has been established between them,” he noted.
TCCIM, as the biggest economic entity of the Iranian private sector, has no links with chambers of commerce in Venezuela, the official added.
Al-e Eshaq cited unwanted bureaucracy, incorrect economic ties and absence of legal, and judicial support for economic activists as well as the long distance between the two countries as the barriers in the way of bolstering bilateral economic relations.
He voiced his organizations’ preparedness to hold meetings with Venezuelan trade delegations.
He also proposed that meetings be held in order to convey information to the Venezuelan private sector about economic opportunities in Iran and also Iranian merchants be sent to Venezuela in order to overcome the existing situation.
Caraballo verified Al-e Eshaq’s comments and said his country is very keen on expanding economic exchanges with Iran.
He recalled that in 2009 economic exchanges between the two sides stood at about $93 million.
He expressed hope that the private sectors of the two countries would develop closer bonds with each other.
“Previously, issuance of visa for Iranian businessmen took about a week. But, at present Iranian businessmen are granted visa for travelling to Venezuela in only two days. These people can stay in Venezuela for one month without needing to renew their visas,” said Caraballo.
“ We also issue a one-year visa for Iranians. This type of visa is issued with the low cost of $60. With this visa Iranians can travel to Venezuela several times a year without needing to be present in Tehran for verifying their trips.”
The Venezuelan envoy also announced the continuation of housing projects in his country.
“Caracas intends to build some 300,000 additional housing units. The major portion of these projects will be ceded to private and foreign companies. Of course, Iranian firms can be more active in this arena than before,” he noted.
Deputy Head of TCCIM for International Affairs Ali Akbar Javan Javidan referred to good mutual ties and gave word of worries of some Iranian investors and industrialists for presence in Venezuela.
“Iranian investors and producers who are interested in investing in Venezuelan ventures are worried about the security of the country. Some influential merchants who are opposed to Hugo Chavez’s government interfere and create hurdles in trade-related matters. A joint committee should be established to examine this issue so that Iranian investors would be rest assured about the security of their capital in Venezuela,” added Javidan.
Caraballo verified the said issue and noted, “The Venezuelan government has taken many measures to reduce crimes in the country … and in the meantime suitable plans have been made for confronting those people who create obstacles in economic activities.”
He expressed hope that the meeting would serve as the prelude to more meetings on expanding two-way economic ties in the private sector.
Meanwhile, a senior Iranian foreign ministry official stressed Tehran’s resolve to further bolster ties and cooperation with Latin America, and called for the expansion of economic relations between Iran and Colombia.
The statement was made during a meeting between the visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for American Affairs, Behrouz Kamalvandi, and his Colombian counterpart Donica Moutis in the capital city of Bogota on Tuesday, Fars News Agency reported.
At the meeting the two sides discussed the most important regional and international issues, and conferred on avenues for the further development of ties and cooperation between the two states.
Kamalvandi briefed his counterpart on Iran’s progress in economy, science and technology in the last three decades, and said Iran is determined to expand economic relations with the Latin America, specially considering that the two sides’ economies can play complementary roles for each other.
He also underlined the need for Tehran and Bogota to widen and deepen their knowledge of each other’s capacities and capabilities.
Iran has in recent years expanded friendly ties with Latin America, especially in economic, trade and industrial fields.
Since taking office in 2005, President Ahmadinejad has expanded Iran’s cooperation with many Latin American states, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil and Cuba.
Hi-Tech Gas Turbines Manufactured
Iran is among the four world countries that are capable of manufacturing advanced V94.2 gas turbines, director general of Tavanir Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Company’s Office of Technical Support affiliated to Ministry of Energy announced on Tuesday.
“Iran, after Europe, the US and Japan, is the fourth country that possesses the hi-tech for the production of V94.2 turbines for gas power plants,” Hassan Mansouri noted, Fars News Agency wrote.
Pointing to the growth in Iran’s energy consumption, he said his office has signed contracts with Iran’s Mapna Turbine Engineering and Manufacturing Company for production of 30 V94.2 gas turbines.
Mapna has already produced and even installed a number of these turbines, he elaborated.
The official also said that the Iran-made turbine blades are 30 percent cheaper than their foreign counterparts and match the quality standards and levels of foreign models.
Tavanir Company has inked deal with Parto Company for purchasing 200 turbine blades, he pointed out.
Speaking at the same gathering, Majid Bahmani, managing director of Parto Company said close to 18,000 MW of electricity are generated by V94.2 turbines--accounting for one third of domestic electricity generation.
These turbines are manufactured by Mapna under license from Germany’s Siemens Company, he explained.
Iran’s power generating capacity went up to 60,000 megawatts after the second gas unit at its Semnan Combined Cycle Power Plant in Northern Iran came online in February.
According to the Iranian Energy Ministry, the country’s power exports topped 4,918 MWH between March 21 and December 28 last year, a 6.12 percent rise in comparison with the same period in 2009.
Iran has power swap deals with Armenia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the autonomous region of Nakhichevan.
Oil Export to EU Up
Iran’s oil exports to the European Union increased 41 percent in 2010, making the country the fifth biggest crude supplier to the block, Eurostat reported.
In 2009, Iran had exported €8.11 billion oil to the 27 member states of EU being ranked 7th biggest crude supplier to the union. In 2010, the figure exceeded €11.44 billion making the country the fifth biggest crude exporter to the EU, according to Eurostat.
Iran had supplied 4.8 percent of EU’s crude demand in 2009, while the figure increased to 5.2 percent in 2010, the report added.
EU’s total crude imports increased to €220 billion in 2010 from €168 billion in 2009.
Russia (€74.35 billion), Norway (€33.45 billion), Libya (€22.3 billion), Kazakhstan (€12.52 billion), Iran (€11.44 billion), Nigeria (€10.23 billion), Saudi Arabia (€10.11 billion), Azerbaijan (€9.46 billion), Iraq (€6.36 billion) and Algeria (€4.94 billion) were the top 10 oil suppliers to the European Union in 2010.
Iran is OPEC’s second-largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia, and has 150.3 billion barrels of crude oil and 33.1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, according to the latest official statistics.
In 2009, Iran’s crude production stood approximately at 3.8 million barrels per day. The Persian Gulf country sits on the world’s second largest gas reserves after Russia.
In 2009, Iran’s revenue from oil exports reached $69.1 billion and it exported approximately 3.8 million barrels per day.
Meanwhile, Deputy Oil Minister Javad Oji said that Iran exported about nine billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe during the past 11 months.
“Since the beginning of this year (March 21, 2010) until now, about nine billion cubic meters of natural gas were exported to neighboring countries such as Turkey and Armenia,” Mehr News Agency quoted Oji as saying on Tuesday.
He added that the average volume of Iran’s gas export increased by 27.6 percentage points per day.
Oji, who is also the managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), also said Iran would sign two gas deals with Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The increase in gas exports comes during peak domestic consumption in cold winter months.
Qatar Labor Ties to Expand
The labor ministers of Iran and Qatar called for boosting cooperation.
In a meeting with Qatar’s Acting Minister of Labor Nasser bin Abdullah Al-Hamidi on Wednesday, Iran’s Labor Minister Abdolreza Sheikholeslami pointed to the efforts of Iranian statesmen, especially President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in expanding all-out ties with Qatar.
“We should try to expand commercial and economic ties with Qatar,” IRNA quoted Sheikholeslami as saying.
Sheikholeslami stressed the need for implementing earlier agreements in the framework of a joint labor commission.
Al-Hamidi, who is also Qatar’s minister of social affairs, expressed satisfaction with his Iranian counterpart’s visit to Doha and noted that bilateral relations are positive and growing.
“High-ranking officials of Qatar, especially the emir, have always underlined developing ties with all friendly and neighboring countries, with the Islamic Republic of Iran enjoying priority,” he said
The Qatari minister announced his country’s readiness for the protection of workers’ rights and the implementation of earlier labor agreements.
Referring to Qatar’s ratification of new laws, such as the establishment of a labor protection and health commission, Al-Hamidi expressed his willingness to use Iran’s valuable experiences in this regard.
Integration of SP Gas Plants
Managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Compnay (POGC) Mousa Souri said all the gas processing plants in Assalouyeh region will be linked to each other through a 32 inch 100 kilometer pipeline.
The pipeline would be constructed with the aim of increasing flexibility and stability in gas production from the South Pars gas field phases, Souri added.
He went on to say that a 100 kilometers gas pipeline would be constructed starting from the phase 12 in Kangan region linking all the onshore gas processing plants of the South Pars gas field phases to each others, Shana reported.
Referring to occasional inconsistency between onshore and offshore operations and some technical problems between the two sectors as one of the challenges of POGC, Souri said that lack of flexibility in gas production is the result of separation of phases in gas processing operations.
“By construction of the 32 inches pipeline, whenever one of the gas processing plants in Assalouyeh get out of circuit due to technical problems, its gas will be transferred to adjacent plants for processing or to oil fields for injection,” Souri elaborated.
Regarding the huge volume of work in the Assalouyeh, the official said that more than 50 thousand people would be recruited in the region, under the law half of them from local workforce.
Syrian Premier in Tehran
Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Al-Otri arrived in Tehran on Wednesday to attend the 13th meeting of Iran-Syria Joint Economic Commission.