0737 GMT February 21, 2019
Talking to Trend News Agency, Iran's deputy industry minister for mining and mineral industries, Jafar Sarqini, called for close cooperation with Azerbaijan in steel, oil and gas, as well as car-making sectors in order to help boost the trade turnover between the two neighboring countries.
Elaborating on plans regarding the cooperation in steel sector, he said the two countries have already discussed the ways of increasing the level of this cooperation.
He speculated that Iranian private sector may collaborate with Azerbaijani steel companies in the future.
The deputy minister further called for cooperation in oil and gas sector, saying the two countries have already engaged in cooperation in the sector, but its level is not satisfactory.
Describing oil and gas sector as important for both countries, he added that Iranian companies enjoy proper capabilities in the maintenance of oil refineries and equipment, as well as the construction of oil facilities.
Jafar Sarqini also touched upon the two countries’ decision to establish a joint venture for producing cars in Azerbaijan, adding that in addition to a car manufacturing factory, new companies will be created in Azerbaijan for providing auto parts.
The deputy minister added that the volume of trade turnover between the two countries has soared by 70 percent over the first seven months of the current year.
According to Azerbaijani officials, Iranian companies have invested $2.6 billion in Azerbaijan’s economy. About $145 million of the total amount has gone to the non-oil sector. This is while some 450 companies with Iranian share operate in Azerbaijan.
Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran amounted to $122.08 million in January-August 2016, $30.66 million of which accounted for the export of Azerbaijani goods to Iran, according to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan.
In the meantime, Hossin Esfahbodi, another Iranian deputy minister of industry, mine and trade, told Trend News Agency that the volume of trade turnover between the two countries currently stands at about $100 million and it must surpass $300 million in the near future.