Turkish Diplomat Stresses Vital Role of Arax Free Zone in Iran-Turkey Ties

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkey’s new consul-general in Iran’s northwestern city of Tabriz on Tuesday underlined the important role of Iran’s Arax Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in the further expansion of ties between Tehran and Ankara, saying his country plans to encourage Turkish private sector investment in the Iranian zone.

The Arax FTZ  is  situated in north-western Iran, in the East Azarbaijan province. It is adjacent to the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichivan, Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The 97 square km region is located 137 km from Tabriz, one of Iran’s major academic and industrial hubs and 761 km from the capital city Tehran. Jolfa, the center of the Zone, has a century old background in international commercial and customs activities.

“There is enough capability for boosting the trade exchanges between Iran and Turkey to a desirable point and the Arax Free Zone provides a proper opportunity in this regard,” Yonos Belet said during a visit to the Arax FTZ. “We are ready to introduce the zone’s investment opportunities to the Turkish investors and economic activists,” the diplomat went on saying, and predicted a bright future for Arax.

Director-General of Arax FTZ Abbas Ranjbar, for his part, elaborated on the legal and regional facilities for Turkish investors that exists in his free trade zone. “As regards to attracting foreign investment, we attach greater importance to [the Republics of] Azerbaijan and Turkey.”

“We have no restriction for the Turkish investors’ increased and expanded presence in the Arax Free Trade Zone,” Ranjbar stated.

Some $8.19 million worth of goods have been exported from the Arax Free Trade Zone in the first five months of the Iranian year, which begins on March 21.

The zone’s exports, which have grown over 3,445 percent in value from last year, are mostly destined for Azerbaijan, Germany, Armenia, Turkey, Russia, Iraq, Georgia and Nakhjavan.

Some $97.9 million worth of goods have also been imported to Arax FTZ in the mentioned period, down by 17 percent compared to last year’s approximate figure of $119.3 million.

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