Official: Bank of Iran-Russia to come back into life

Sep 20, 2014 12:00 AM

Tehran and Moscow are planning to revive their joint bank to facilitate the exports of Iran's agricultural products to Russia, a senior trade official announced recently.

"Iran and Russia will launch a joint bank to remove the obstacles hindering the financial transactions needed for exports of agricultural products," Head of Iran Exports Confederation Reza Nourani told FNA today.

The Bank of Iran and Russia was established in the Northern city of Gilan in the 19th century. The bank continued its operations until the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 when it was closed.

Meantime, Nourani noted that direct export of Iran's agricultural products to Russia will take place through Anzali port in Northern Iran, and added, "This port has recently been further developed and the port's customs officials have announced that they are providing round-the-clock services at the port.

Iran and Russia plan to boost their trade volume several times this year.

Earlier today, Iran's Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanayee underlined that Iran and Russia are planning to considerably increase the volume of their trade transactions by the next year.

"Tehran and Moscow have agreed to increase the volume of their trade exchanges to over $15 billion by 2015," Sanayee said, addressing a conference at Moscow Transportation University.

He noted that Tehran and Moscow share many commonalities in the region and also the international arena.

Earlier this month, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in a meeting in Tehran signed a high-profile economic cooperation agreement.

During the meeting in the Iranian capital, Zanganeh and Novak also underlined the need for further mutual cooperation between the two countries in economic and energy fields.

Zanganeh announced that the value of trade exchanges between Tehran and Moscow stood at $5.1 billion in the last Iranian year (ended March 21, 2014), while the figure can grow ten-fold in future.

"The value of Iran-Russia trade exchanges which hit $5.1 billion last year can be increased by 10 times," Zanganeh said, addressing Iran-Russia Trade Conference in Tehran.

Addressing Iranian businessmen, Zanganeh said, "Russia is a big market with high demand and rapid economic growth for us and we have many world quality goods and services which can meet the increasing needs of that country."

Addressing the same conference, Novak underlined that his country is willing to implement joint projects and ventures with Iran and boost the two countries' trade value to $10 billion.

"We will boost the level of the two neighboring countries' trade transactions to $10 billion," Novak said.

Novak underlined that the Iranian and Russian private sectors are so interested in trade exchange that 80 Russian businessmen representing 40 companies have attended the conference, each of whom introduces a service or equipment to the Iranian companies.

He noted that the Russian companies participating in the conference are specialized in nanotechnology, electronics, nano-electronics, atomic power stations, aviation and airplane equipment.

Novak pointed to the willingness of Iran and Russia to strengthen their relations in the recent decades, and said, "Russians' partnership in the construction of Isfahan Steel Mill, power plants and Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant which started in the second half of the 20th Century indicates good cooperation between Iran and Russia."

The Russian energy minister also reminded Tehran and Moscow's similar diplomacies towards Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Caspian Sea as a launchpad for the further expansion of relations.

He also expressed Moscow's willingness to supply Iran with plane parts and equipment, and transportation, oil and gas and atomic power plants equipment.

Novak said both Iran and Russia have strong determination to implement joint projects and set up joint ventures, adding, "The two countries will hold a trade meeting in Moscow to continue their talks."

He also mentioned that Iran and Russia have intensively worked to remove obstacles such as method of payment of trade exchanges.

Iran-Russia trade currently totals $5bln a year, but economists say the two countries can multiple the volume of their trade exchanges.

Last month, a trade official announced that Iran has become an exporter of foodstuff to Russia after Moscow banned imports of agricultural and food products from the countries that have imposed the US and EU-led sanctions on Russia.

"Iran will start exporting eggs to Russia in the next two weeks," Managing Director of the Union of Iran's Egg Exporters Hedayat Asghari.

Also earlier this month, Chairman of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Gholam Hossein Shafeyee announced that Iran plans to dispatch a specialized team to Russia to study the market for food exports to that country.

"The ICCIMA has set up a special workgroup to study the Russian market's needs and a specialized team will be sent to Russia soon," Shafeyee told FNA.

He noted that Iran has formerly exported agricultural products, fresh fruits, tomato paste and fruit juice concentrate to the Russian market, and said, "We are planning to increase the volume of Iran-Russia trade transactions."

The first round of sanctions against Russia was implemented by the United States and the European Union back in March as a response to Crimea’s reunification with Russia following a referendum. As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Japan gave in to US pressure and drew up their own sanctions.

In response to western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order on economic measures to protect the country’s security. The decree went into effect on August 7 and banned the imports of agricultural and food products from the countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia for one year. The list of banned products includes meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products, fruits and vegetables.

Moscow said earlier it was ready to review the terms of its import restrictions if its western partners showed a commitment to dialogue.

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