TEHRAN – The secretary of Iran’s Free Zones High Council has said 70 percent of the country’s transit is carried out through free trade and special economic zones, Freena reported.
Speaking in a press conference in Kordestan Province on Saturday, Hojatollah Abdolmaleki said there are 94 approved free trade and special economic zones across the country, of which 18 are free trade zones.
According to the official, the country’s free trade and special economic zones play a significant role in the country’s economy, so that in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20) one-third of Iran’s total non-oil export was carried out through these zones.
Over 2500 companies are currently active in the free trade and special economic zones in which more than 7,000 people are directly employed, Abdolmaleki said.
The establishment of free trade zones (FTZs) in Iran dates back to the Iranian calendar year 1368 (March 1989 - March 1990) following the fall in the country’s oil income in the preceding year which prompted the government to promote non-oil exports.
The first two free trade zones of Iran were established in the south of the country. The first one was Kish Free Trade Zone established in 1368 on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf and the second one was Qeshm Free Trade Zone established the year after on Qeshm Island in the Strait of Hormuz.
Some five other free trade zones have been also established in the country since then, including Chabahar in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Arvand in southwestern Khuzestan Province, Anzali in northern Gilan Province, Aras in East-Azarbaijan Province and Maku in West-Azarbaijan Province, both in the northwest of the country.
The development of existing free trade zones and the establishment of new FTZs has become one of the major economic approaches of the Iranian government.
Free Zones High Council has been taking new measures to improve the role of free trade and special economic zones in the country’s economy.
In this regard, the secretary of Free Zones High Council has been holding talks with senior officials from various government bodies to underline the importance of developing free zones for the country’s economic improvement.
In a meeting with Meisam Latifi, the Head of the Public Administration and Recruitment Organization in late September, the two sides discussed structural and executive issues related to free trade and special economic zones.
Abdolmaleki also held a meeting with the Head of the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI) Mehdi Eslam-Panah in which he stressed the need to facilitate administrative affairs related to economic and business activities in free trade and special economic zones.
In the meeting, Eslam-Panah said free and special economic zones are effective in the economic progress of the country and maximum facilitation should be done in the administrative affairs related to economic and business sectors in these zones.
In another meeting with the Head of the Parliament’s Internal Affairs Committee Mohammad Saleh Jokar, the officials discussed ways of improving business and trade in the country’s free and special zones under the framework of the Seventh National Development Plan (2022-2026).