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Iranian delegation concludes three-day visit

Released at: 09:24, 22/04/2017

Iranian delegation concludes three-day visit

Photo: Duy Anh

Visit aimed at boosting trade and investment between two countries, which remain well short of potential.

by Anh Duy

A delegation of leading Iranian enterprises led by Chairman of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), Mr. Gholam Hossein Shafei, has successfully wrapped up a three-day visit to Vietnam from April 19 to 21.

At the Iran-Vietnam Business Forum held in Hanoi on April 20, both the ICCIMA and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) agreed to establish a Vietnam-Iran Chamber of Commerce and Industry and an Iran-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which will come into being next March in the two countries to enhance and deepen the partnership.

“These will provide information for enterprises on both sides, connecting investment opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises and Iranian enterprises,” VCCI Chairman Dr. Vu Tien Loc told the forum.

“Trade and investment in recent years have not been commensurate with the wonderful political and diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Iran,” Dr. Loc added. Bilateral trade turnover last year between the two countries stood at $116.9 million, in which Vietnam exported $86.8 million to Iran and imported $30.1 million.

Tourism also has potential for Iranian enterprises, as Vietnam has many heritage sites and nature spots to attract Iranian visitors. “This will be the platform for opening up other investment opportunities,” Dr. Loc said.

For his part, Mr. Shafei said that as Iran has the world’s largest reserves of oil, the country can provide Vietnam with products such as petrochemicals, asphalt, polymer granules, base oils, building materials, and minerals, adding that it already exports a large quantity of asphalt and polymer products to Vietnam each year.

Vietnam could be a bridge for Iranian goods to reach ASEAN countries, he went on, while Iran, located in a region of more than 400 million people, could be a gateway for Vietnamese goods to reach the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe.

Sharing his experience in doing business in Iran, Chairman of the An Viet International Operation Investment JSC, Mr. Tran Van Tri, who is also the newly-elected Chairman of the Vietnam-Iran Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Iran was a market of great promise for Vietnamese investment. “In the beginning, I planned to export seafood to Iran,” Mr. Tri said. “However, after visiting the country twice to conduct market research, I opted to establish a company in Iran exporting fish to Vietnam.”

“The Iranian Government adopted a number of preferential policies allowing me to open a company there, such as corporate and personal tax exemptions for 20 years,” he added. “However, one of the greatest challenges for foreign enterprises in Iran is payment methods. Iran is under financial sanctions by the US, and enterprises must process payments via intermediary banks in third countries, such as Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.”

Many Iranian enterprises speak highly about Vietnam and are looking for potential partners. “Every year, Vietnam imports around 500,000 tons of bitumen from countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand,” Commercial Manager of the ACE Oil Company, Mr. Mohammad Ghaffari, told VET. “Iran is famous for bitumen, with top quality and competitive prices, but not many Vietnamese firms approach us due to long shipment times. We are seeking a Vietnamese partner to open a bitumen agency in Vietnam to bring Iranian bitumen to the country.”

The forum was held in keeping with a promise made last October by the ICCIMA Chairman to bring a delegation of enterprises to Vietnam. It was designed to promote trade cooperation and friendship between Vietnam and Iran, while creating investment opportunities for participating enterprises.

Vietnamese and Iranian leaders have pledged support for their businesses to achieve trade of $2 billion, State President Tran Dai Quang told Mr. Shafei during a reception in Hanoi on April 19.

State President Tran Dai Quang meets Mr. Gholam Hossein Shafei, Chairman of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, and the Iranian business delegation at the Presidential Palace. Source: VNA

President Quang also said that both sides agreed to boost trade and investment in oil and gas, telecommunications, agriculture, and fisheries, adding that Vietnam could export quality products to Iran at competitive prices, such as rice, tea, coffee, cashew nuts, pepper, rubber, motorbikes, and bicycle spare parts.

Vietnam encourages domestic firms to invest in Iran and also encourages Vietnamese banks to sign cooperative agreements with Iranian counterparts to enable smooth payments, President Quang added. 

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