Approval for Foreign Investment Projects Worth $3b
Domestic Economy Desk
Foreign investment projects worth $3 billion have been ratified by the Foreign Investment Council in the first quarter of the current Iranian year (March 21-June 21).
Speaking in the Conference on Development of National Industries held on Wednesday, Behrouz Alishiri, the head of Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran, said the figure shows an increase of 50 percent compared with the corresponding figure of last year.
He noted that creating competition in the domestic market causes producers to improve their products, IRNA reported.
Addressing the same conference, deputy cooperatives, labor and social welfare minister, Gholamhossein Husseininia, referred to the crucial role played by cooperatives.
He said the activities of large organizations in the form of cooperatives will help improve their financial capabilities.
Mirza Baba Motaharinejad, secretary of the conference, said non-governmental organizations (NGO) should exercise supervision over the performance of producers.
“Satisfaction of customers is the final objective of goods and services producers,” he said, pointing out that the target can be materialized through the supervision of NGOs.
Motaharinejad stated that 500 production and services organizations underwent the assessments made by the Scientific Committee of the conference, 50 of which received the ISO10004 standard certificates.
Earlier, first vice president said over 20 percent of the assets of National Development Fund (NDF) will be provided as loans to foreign investors.
At a ceremony to officially declare the Global Report of Foreign Investment and Iran, Mohammadreza Rahimi said financial facilities worth $6 billion would be made available to foreign investors.
“We invite all foreign investors and Iranians residing abroad to use this opportunity provided by the government for investment in Iran,” he added.
“We should guide infrastructures toward attracting foreign investment and facilitate bureaucracy through giving more authorities to governors general and customs departments.”
Pointing to western sanctions against Iranian oil exports, he said oil revenues account for 10 percent of Iran’s economic cycle. Even if oil exports are suspended, Iranians can find other ways to earn revenues, he mentioned.
All governors general and Iranian ambassadors in foreign nations should prepare the environment for presence of foreign investors in Iran, he said.
He explained that those involved in drawing foreign investment would be awarded, he pointed out.
Expansion of Border Terminals Prioritized
Translated by Katayoon Dashti
Border terminals, as a venue for boosting exports and imports, are top priorities of Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization and the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
Stating the above, Shahryar Afandizadeh, deputy minister of road and urban development, called for expansion of halls for the transit of cargos and passengers in terminals, ISNA reported.
He recalled that during the summit held recently in Turkey, it was decided that all Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member-states establish facilities in border terminals.
Highlighting that Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are ECO members, he said Iran, as a key ECO player, should make more efforts to bring the member countries closer.
“Mechanized systems, x-ray screening systems and common regulations are required to ease truck traffic handling cargo transit,” he said.
According to Afandizadeh, renovation of transportation network and enforcement of common regulations among ECO member-states are top priorities of ECO Summit.
The deputy minister stated that over 3 million tons of commodities were transited from the country during March 20-June 20, indicating a 30-percent rise compared with the same period of last year.
Afandizadeh explained that the trade hall of Lotfabad Terminal is under construction in Khorasan Razavi province bordering Turkmenistan.
“Since Turkmenistan, as a member of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), is of high importance for Iran in terms of cargo transit, we have prioritized expansion of the aforesaid terminal,” he said.
In addition, the trade hall of Parvizkhan Terminal at Kermanshah-Iraq border is near completion.
The trade hall of Bashmaq Terminal at Kurdestan province’s border with Iraq was built last year. Its passenger hall is also under construction.
Highlighting that the trade and passenger halls of Chazzabeh Terminal on Khuzestan-Iraq border is under construction, the deputy minister expressed hope that the project would be inaugurated during the coming fall.
“The trade hall of Shalamcheh Terminal was constructed on Khuzestan-Iraq border last year,” he said, adding that the passenger hall is ready for use.
Moreover, the trade hall of Mahiroud Terminal on South Khorasan-Afghanistan border is under construction.
“We are witnessing development operations in border terminals such as Bazargan on West Azarbaijan-Turkey border,” he said.
Afandizadeh explained that Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization places high importance on expansion of infrastructures and border terminals as places for the transfer of passengers and commodities.
Non-Oil Exports Exceed $6.76b
Some 15.70 million tons of non-oil products, excluding gas condensates, worth $6.76 billion were exported during the first quarter of the current Iranian year (March 21-June 21),
According to the report carried by IRNA, $2.28 billion worth of industrial goods, $94 million of hand-woven carpets and handicrafts, and $529 million of mineral goods were exported during the period.
About 4.32 million tons of industrial goods worth $8.93 billion and 208 million tons of mineral goods worth $106 million were imported during the period.
The report added that technical and engineering goods worth $189 million were exported from the country during the period.
It noted that China, UAE, Iraq, India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Azerbaijan were the destinations of goods exported from Iran during the period.
The report said UAE, China, South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Netherlands, Singapore, France and Turkey were among countries that exported non-oil commodities to Iran.
Last October, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced plans to boost non-oil exports to $60 billion by March 2013, saying that exports will exceed $45 billion by end of this year.
Ahmadinejad further pointed to an improvement in economic conditions despite the sanctions imposed on Tehran over its civilian nuclear program and the current global economic crisis.
6,000 Cooperatives Nationwide
Translated by Katayoon Dashti
Currently, 5,923 consumer cooperatives, which employ 128,396 people, operate across the country, said the deputy cooperatives, labor and welfare minister.
Gholamhossein Husseini-Nia told IRNA that the assets of these cooperatives stand at nine trillion rials (some $900 million).
Consumer cooperatives account for the highest share of commodity sale with 41 percent.
Every consumer cooperative on average has been built in an area of 170 square meters.
On the entire cost of consumer cooperatives in the last Iranian year (ended March 19, 2012), he said the total cost stood at 130 billion rials ($13 million) for state employees union and at 164 billion rials for workers’ unions.
“The employees’ cooperatives are exempt from income tax,” he said.
Husseini-Nia noted that over six million individuals are members of consumer cooperatives, adding that the figure rises to 25 million while considering their families.
“The annual sale of over 33.2 trillion rials ($3.3 billion) worth of commodities will make possible wholesale purchases,” he said.
“This will reduce the final price of consumer goods for cooperative members.”
Commenting on complementary cooperative chains, he said these stores sell commodities mainly required by people such as foodstuff, hygienic products and miscellaneous items.
Husseini-Nia noted that the commodities are purchased from reliable producers at the most affordable price and best quality without the involvement of middlemen and retailers.
Iranian Crude Prices Rising
Iranian crude oil is traded at higher prices in Asia, sources said.
Sources informed that Iran has raised its Official Selling Prices (OSPs) for August-loading crude to Asia for most of its grades. Prices for light, heavy and Forouzan Blend have been raised, Fars News agency reported on Wednesday.
September-loading trade in the Middle East crude market is yet to start, they said. The EU and US sanctions on oil supplies from Iran, the current president of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), are supporting the market.
Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) raised its August official selling prices (OSP) for its two export grades Basra Light and Kirkuk to the US, Asia and Europe as well.
Brent crude fell below $99 a barrel on Tuesday on concerns about demand growth after Chinese crude imports weakened in June, while worries over supply disruptions eased as a labor strike in Norway’s oil industry ended.
Meantime, officials in Moscow said that customers have been queuing for Russian crude since July 1, when the EU enforced a set of sanctions on the supply of Iranian crude oil.
Iran’s total in-place oil reserves have been estimated at more than 560 billion barrels of which about 140 billion barrels are extractable. Moreover, heavy and extra heavy varieties of crude oil account for roughly 70-100 billion barrels of the total reserves.
Iran holds the world’s third largest proven oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves.
It shares oil and gas fields with most of its neighbors, including Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. The country is OPEC’s second largest oil producer and the fourth crude oil exporter.
Pakistani Traders Upbeat About Iran Visit
A thirteen-member trade delegation led by the vice president of the Federation of Pakistan’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) ended its visit to Iran after concluding business agreements with Iranian traders.
“The delegation visited a number of cities including Tehran, Mashhad, and Isfahan…,” FPCCI Vice President Zubair Ali told reporters in Peshawar, Fars News Agency reported on Wednesday.
He said the business community of Iran showed keen interest in investing in different sectors, particularly the energy and industrial sectors.
During the meeting, he informed that they had signed agreements to attract Iranian investment in Pakistan generally and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province particularly.
Referring to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two sides, he said that a modern slaughter house will be constructed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province under public-private venture, adding the Iranian government will provide technical assistance to equip the slaughter house with modern facilities and other important machinery.
He said the Iranian business community had also shown interest in establishing three-small industrial units, solar grazer system, and plastic industry in the province.
Meanwhile, sources said Iran will supply power to Pakistan based on global crude prices, adding the rate will fluctuate in the range of 7 to 11 cents per unit (1,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity).
Iran and Pakistan have already signed an MoU on electricity supply to Pakistan.
According to an Islamabad government official, the two sides have also agreed on the price which will be in the range of seven to 11 cents per unit.
An official of the Pakistan Ministry of Water and Power said gas prices in Iran are linked to global oil rates, therefore, it bases the power price on crude oil prices in the international market.
According to the price formula, Pakistan will be paying a maximum rate of 11 cents per unit of electricity if crude prices reach $110 per barrel and the price range will be reviewed after five years.
Under the proposed project, Iran will build a powerhouse in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province bordering Pakistan to generate electricity for export and has also expressed its willingness to provide $800 to $900 million for the project.
A 700-kilometers transmission line of 500 kilovolts will also be laid from the Iran-Pakistan border to Quetta in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.
Besides the 1,000MW for which an MoU has been signed, Iran has also offered to export a huge quantity of 10,000MW to Pakistan.
Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi and Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi signed a memorandum of understanding on the construction of 14 on-shore drilling rigs.