Iran Georgia’s Gateway to Persian Gulf
The forum gave a platform to the government authorities as well as
representatives of Georgian and Iranian companies to establish
communication for more productive future cooperation.
Georgia and Iran are carrying forward millennia-old relations by forging
closer ties in various sectors including trade, economy and agriculture.
An Iranian delegation comprising top managers of 30 Iranian companies
arrived in Georgia Oct. 10 to participate in the Georgian-Iranian Business
Forum and strengthen economic relations between the two countries.
The forum gave a platform to the government authorities as well as
representatives of Georgian and Iranian companies to establish communication
for more productive future cooperation.
According to Georgia’s Ministry of Economy, the Iranian business delegation
voiced interest in cooperation with Georgia in such areas as transport,
chemical products, oil and gas, food industry, wood processing and
manufacturing of electric equipment.
At the forum, Georgian authorities showcased the country’s favorable
business environment and urged Iranian business delegation to invest in
Georgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Gakharia
positively assessed current trade-economic relations between the two
“We know that a very large project has been initiated, which is meant to
create an oil processing enterprise… In the first eight months [of 2017]
trade turnover [between Georgia and Iran] increased by 48 percent… We try to
overcome all challenges in order to have more effective communication [with
Iran],” said Gakharia.
As for other data, the Ministry of Economy announced that the number of
Iranian tourists visiting Georgia increased by 127 percent between January
and September 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
“We have agreed that it is necessary to deepen cooperation in terms of
establishing joint enterprises,” said Gakharia after the meeting.
Discussions about joint activities in agricultural sector continued between
Georgia’s Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili and Iranian Minister of
Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei.
As Davitashvili stated there was an opportunity to develop “various
directions” based on the memorandums of understanding that are signed
between Georgia and Iran.
Jump in Trade Balance
Rabiei, also Iranian Chairman of Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission,
said (Oct. 9) that the two countries’ exchanges over the past two years have
reached $131 million, showing an increase of 50 percent.
After a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Giorgi
Kvirikashvili in Tbilisi, Rabiei told IRNA that during the meeting it was
agreed to raise the volume of trade transactions by twofold.
On certain obstacles in the way of mutual cooperation, he also said that
transit of Iranian lorries through Georgia, which has increased from 4,000
to 12,000, faced problems due to some complication in obtaining permits;
however, it was agreed that Iranian lorries drive through the country
without any need for permits.
He further noted that the Georgian premier declared, during the meeting,
that he was pursuing monetary and banking exchanges enthusiastically.
Rabiei also proposed establishment of Iranian bank branches in Georgia but
final decision thereof will be taken later.
“Both sides expressed their political support for each other and voiced
readiness for cooperation in various fields, including economy, energy,
transportation and other joint projects,” Rabiei said.
The Georgian prime minister said at the meeting: “We can facilitate
approaching the third-party markets. Iran is not just an 80
million-population-market for Georgia and we can also gain access to larger
markets through Iran. In turn, through establishment of joint Georgia-Iran
companies, Georgia offers Iran access to all the privileges that our country
has upon the signed agreements on Free Trade Regimes, which means access to
the European markets as well as to the markets of our neighboring
The Sixth Meeting of Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission kicked off in
Tbilisi (Oct. 9).
Iran-Georgia exchanges over the past two years have reached $131 million, of
which $83 million are exports from Iran to Georgia.
Banking Ties Underlined
Iran said delay in offering banking services to legal and real entities and
lack of banking ties between Georgia and Iran is one of the main problems of
developing bilateral cooperation.
Iran’s Ambassador to Georgia Javad Qavam Shahidi made the remarks at the 6th
Joint Economic Commission meeting of Iran-Georgia.
Many Iranian investors and businessmen are interested in working in Georgia,
but the aforementioned problem discourages them.
He praised Georgian officials’ desire for development of economic and
commercial ties with Iran, and said that Iran is fully aware of Tbilisi
The envoy said that Georgia could be a regional hub for Iranian exports to
Europe, adding that the two countries may be complementary to each other
economically and have good cooperation in producing goods.
Iran, Georgia Markets Supplement Each Other
Georgian economy minister called Tehran and Tbilisi good economic partners,
and said that given the suitable position of both states, they could
supplement each other goods also become export venue for the other.
Also addressing the 6th Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission meeting,
Gakharia said, “This meeting is so important for us and we are concentrating
on development of economic relations between the two states.”
Georgia may enter 300-million-population markets of the region via Iran,
while it has also a suitable position for exporting Iranian goods to Europe.
Gakharia also pointed to development of aerial connections between the two
countries, and said that currently seven Iranian and Georgian airlines are
transferring passengers between the two states.
He underlined the necessity to remove tariff obstacles in bilateral trade
The minister also declared Georgia’s readiness to create new and necessary
atmosphere for Iranian investors.
Gakharia appreciated Iran’s assistance in controlling fire in jungle area in
Iran and Georgia signed an economic memorandum of understanding (Oct. 10) to
enhance cooperation in various fields, including banking.
The MoU was signed following the 6th Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission
meeting and entails 16 articles, including cooperation on transportation,
information technology, tourism, agriculture, labor, health, and education.
Facilitating banking ties is among the contents of the MoU, Iran’s minister
of cooperatives said after signing the agreement.
Gakharia told reporters that the MoU stresses Iran-Georgia cooperation in
the areas of transportation and transit, and that the two countries’
bilateral ties on the issue means the Persian Gulf is linked to the Black
Sea and Europe.
He also said that given Iran’s valuable experience in agriculture, fishery,
oil and gas, Georgia is interested in cooperating with Iran.
The 5th Iran-Georgia Joint Economic Commission was held in Tehran two years
Iran, Georgia Gateway to Persian Gulf
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said recently that the Islamic Republic can
function as the passageway of Georgia and other regional countries to the
Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean while Georgia can connect
Iran to the Black Sea.
“Transit [cooperation] in the region currently has special significance and
given a rail link between Iran’s [northern city of] Astara and Azerbaijan
and good rail and road routes in Georgia, the development of Tehran-Tbilisi
cooperation in this field can bring about a transportation in the region,”
Rouhani said in a meeting with PM Kvirikashvili in Tehran back in April.
“Iran and Georgia have broad economic, scientific and cultural capacities
and capabilities to strengthen their cooperation but these capabilities have
not been utilized well and this trip can lay the appropriate ground for the
expansion of mutual relations,” the Iranian President said.
He also urged the two countries to support investors in the private sectors
to boost their cooperation.
The Georgian prime minister, for his part, said his country is determined to
connect the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea through Iran’s roads and railways.
He urged the two countries to strengthen cooperation in the transit of goods
The premier’s trip to Tehran came few days after Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Georgia on the second leg of a three-nation
tour of Central Asia and the Caucasus countries which also took him to
Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.