TEHRAN- Iran and Kazakhstan inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the expansion of cooperation in the agriculture and trade fields as well as industries, logistics, transportation and technology transfer in Tehran on Wednesday.

 

The MOU was signed by Javad Sadati-Nejad, the Iranian agriculture minister, and Zhumangarin Serik, the deputy prime minister and minister of trade and integration of Kazakhstan, who visited Tehran on top of a Kazakh delegation.

As reported, the effort of the two countries in order to increase the value of bilateral trade to about one billion dollars, based on the agreements of the presidents of the two countries, is considered in the MOU.

In this MOU, there was also an agreement on the establishment of a joint trading company for agricultural products and the implementation of joint agricultural projects, and also holding related exhibitions by Kazakh companies in Tehran in the first month of the next Iranian calendar year (starts on March 21, 2023), coinciding with the visit of the prime minister of Kazakhstan to Tehran.

During a meeting between Kazakhstan Prime Minister Alikhan Ashanuly Smaiylov and Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber on the sidelines of the Second Caspian Economic Forum in Moscow on October 6, the Kazakh side emphasized the importance of improving the level of cooperation between Tehran and Astana in the oil swap, as well as industry, agriculture, scientific and cultural sectors.

Mokhber, for his part, said that the level of trade between Iran and Kazakhstan can quickly reach three billion dollars, considering the existing capacities of the two countries.

The Kazakh prime minister welcomed the proposal of Iran’s first vice president and stated that the necessary fields and capacities of the two countries are ready to raise the level of trade exchanges between Iran and Kazakhstan and reach three billion dollars a year.

Mokhber then announced Iran's readiness to send mining companies to Kazakhstan and added: “Tehran is ready to cooperate with Astana in port, dam construction, hydropower plant construction, knowledge-based and technical and engineering services.”

Also, during an Iran-Kazakhstan business forum hosted by Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) in Tehran in mid-October, the two sides stressed the need for removing visa issuance and transportation obstacles, to realize a $6 billion annual trade target.

The business forum was attended by senior officials from both sides including ICCIMA Head Gholam Hossein Shafeie, Kairat Torebayev, Kazakhstan’s vice minister of trade and integration, Kazakh Ambassador to Tehran Askhat Orazbay, and ICCIMA Deputy Head Mohammadreza Karbasi, as well as the head of Iranian chambers of commerce and businessmen from the two sides.

The members of the Iran-Kazakhstan Joint Chamber of Commerce, representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI), the Trade Promotion Organization (TPO), and the Agriculture Ministry were also present at the event.

Speaking in the meeting, Shafeie underlined the two countries common cultural and religious backgrounds and said: “Our relations with neighboring countries have a special priority for the government, and Kazakhstan, as one of the largest countries in Central Asia, has an important place for us in Iran's foreign policy.”

“In the last two years, despite the coronavirus pandemic the borders of the two countries were never closed and commercial goods were exchanged through water borders,” Shafeie added.

He stressed that given the resources and capabilities of the two countries in various fields such as oil, gas, and shipping in the Caspian Sea, petrochemicals, agriculture, metals, minerals and chemicals, animal husbandry, construction materials, and technical services and engineering, bilateral relation with the Republic of Kazakhstan has special significance for Iran.

“Especially given the active presence of Kazakhstan in global interactions, as well as its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Shanghai Agreement, the potential for the development of trade relations between the two countries is more than before,” the official said.

Further in the forum, Orazbay stated that holding this event on the eve of the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence is of special importance for the country, adding: “Kazakhstan is not only the largest country in Central Asia but also the largest economy among them. At present, Kazakhstan is one of the 50 most developed countries in the world, and with the plans made, we want to become one of the top 30 countries in the world in the future.”

Torebayev for his part noted that Iran and Kazakhstan have always had friendly social, cultural, and political relations and are close to each other.

“The possibility of communication by rail, sea, and air between the two countries has brought their relations closer together,” he stressed.