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January 2017, No. 82


Trade & Business

Iran, Malaysia Seek to Double Trade Exchanges


“Ties with Asia including the friendly and brotherly country of Malaysia have a special position in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy,” Rouhani said.


President Rouhani said the atmosphere that has ensued Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers makes for a good opportunity to expand bilateral ties with Malaysia.

The Iranian chief executive made the remarks upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Oct 7) on the second leg of his Asian tour.

Rouhani further referred to Malaysia as an important and advanced Muslim country in the region, saying Iran has always had good relations with the Malaysian government and nation.

“The Islamic Republic has always stressed the importance of the enhancement of relations with the people and administration of the great country. In this trip, we seek to further enhance and deepen bilateral relations.”

The nuclear deal was signed in July 2015 between Iran and the six powers – Russia, China France, Britain, the US and Germany. It effectively established Iran’s right to use peaceful nuclear energy and envisaged the removal of nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani was later officially welcomed by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak at the presidential palace in Putrajaya.

Iran, Malaysia Seek to Double Trade Exchanges

President Rouhani said Iran and Malaysia plan to swiftly double the level of their trade exchanges.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Malaysian PM, he added that the two countries are in the first phase resolved to restore their bilateral relations to pre-sanctions levels then promptly double it.

“We also plan to turn 2016 into the year of development in improvement and expansion of mutual ties in economic, political, scientific and cultural fields,” he added.

The Iranian and Malaysian private sectors should become aware of capacities in both countries and use them to deepen ties, Rouhani noted.

Need for New Iran-Malaysia Banking Mechanisms

Razak, for his part, said the Central Bank of Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), and the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) must immediately develop new mechanisms for cooperation in different fields in a bid to accelerate activities.

He added that the BNM and CBI officials would meet in the near future to discuss ways of developing strategies for efficient trade cooperation.

He also said that Rouhani’s visit to Malaysia allows both countries to explore ways to further expand economic ties.

“The key to this objective is to enable business transactions to take place within the banking system of our two countries,” New Straits Times quoted Najib as saying.

Najib added, “As you know, sanctions (on Iran) had restricted ways of doing business there. But we want this (mechanism) to happen, and I am confident it will be found in the shortest time.”

He also said Malaysia will be sending a delegation comprising the Plantations Industries and Commodities Ministry, and the Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB) to Tehran.

Malaysian Firms Invited to Iran’s Energy, Industrial Projects

Malaysian firms are invited to participate in Iran’s energy and industrial projects, President Rouhani said.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Najib, the Iranian President stated that the post-sanctions era is a great opportunity for Malaysian companies to boost presence in Iran.

He also underscored the potentials and capabilities of Iranian companies in various sectors including construction, energy, and modern technologies, and said the two countries can cooperate in such areas.

Najib, for his part, expressed his country’s interest in cooperation with Iran in all areas and said the two governments should try to increase bilateral trade to the pre-sanctions level.

Iran-Malaysia Trade to Quintuple in 2 Years

Meanwhile, in an interview with IRNA, Iranian Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi, who is also the co-chairman of Iran-Malaysia Joint Economic Commission, said that with oil and petrochemical products added to the equation, it is expected that the value of trade between the two sides will increase five-fold over the next two years.

Referring to his talks with Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry who is also Iran-Malaysia Joint Economic Commission’s new co-chairman, Vaezi said bilateral trade relations were very good but fell short due to the unjust sanctions over the past years.

He went on saying “The two countries’ joint economic commission meeting has not been held since 2008 and it has caused bilateral trade value of $1.5 billion in 2013 to fall to $500 million in 2016.”

Further in his remarks the official noted that Malaysia’s minister of international trade and industry is due to visit Iran within the next two weeks accompanied by a high-ranking trade delegation.

“Thirty Malaysian representatives and managers of large companies in various sectors will be accompanying the minister and this could be a new beginning for further development of bilateral cooperation,” he said.

Concern over Divisive Policies

Speaking to reporters after holding closed-door talks with the Malaysian premier and participating in the meeting of the two countries’ high-ranking delegations, Rouhani said Tehran and Kuala Lumpur are concerned about enemies’ moves to sow discord among Muslim countries.

“We both believe that all Islamic faiths have a common goal and emanate from a single root and origin,” he added.

He said the two countries regard terrorism a common concern in the region and across the world and believe that “governments and countries must make use of all means [available] in the fight against terrorism.”

He also stressed the importance of bolstering relations with Asian countries.

“Ties with Asia including the friendly and brotherly country of Malaysia have a special position in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy,” Rouhani said.

There is a “very good climate” for activities and investment by Iranians in Malaysia, he said, adding that Tehran and Kuala Lumpur are both supporting investments by the other country on their soil.

“Iran welcomes investment by the Malaysian firms in oil, gas and petrochemical sectors,” he said.

He also called for acceleration of cooperation between the two countries in banking, academic, technological and tourist fields.

 

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