Trade transactions between Iran and Turkey were on the rise before the imposition of anti-Iran sanctions in 2012.
The volume of bilateral trade fell following the enforcement of the US-led penalties.
Nonetheless, the lifting of sanctions in January last year raised hopes for boosting Tehran-Ankara trade relations.
A few months ago, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed that annual bilateral trade should reach $30 billion.
Iranian Ambassador to Turkey Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian-Fard says the Islamic Republic is determined to achieve this target.
In an interview with Iran Daily, Taherian-Fard noted that the removal of sanctions will help the two neighbors enhance their economic ties in all spheres.
Excerpts of the interview are given below:
Iran Daily: How do you evaluate the economic ties between Iran and Turkey?
Taherian-Fard: Iran and Turkey are influential nations in the region which have established close ties in all fields.
Tehran and Ankara maintain vast economic, political, cultural and security relations.
The two states have held 25 sessions of the Joint Economic Commission and they will soon hold the 26th session in Tehran. They have also held three strategic meetings attended by their respective presidents over the past four years.
When will the 26th session of economic commission take place?
Plans for holding the commission’s session will begin as soon as President Rouhani starts his next presidential term. The commission will pave the ground for a new meeting between the Iranian and Turkish presidents.
What are Iran and Turkey’s plans to increase their bilateral trade to $30 billion?
President Rouhani and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed in their last meeting that annual bilateral trade should reach $30 billion.
The Turkish economy minister followed up the case in his trip to Iran. It will also be pursued in the 26th session of the economic commission in Tehran.
All-out efforts should be made to enable Tehran and Ankara promote economic ties and achieve the goal of boosting bilateral annual trade to $30 billion.
However, last year’s bilateral trade stood at $11 billion and it is estimated that this year’s figure will remain unchanged. This shows that there is a large gap between the current value of bilateral trade and the $30 billion target which should be achieved.
Iran and Turkey have the same trade balance. The economies of the two states are complementary. They enjoy good ties in the energy sector. They can boost ties in transit, the construction sector and other fields. The 26th session of the economic commission can help Tehran and Ankara tap their potentials and boost their ties.
As you said there is a large gap between the current value of bilateral trade and the $30 billion target they should achieve. What should be done to fill this gap?
To fill this gap, Rouhani and Erdogan have asked their respective governments to double their efforts to boost political and economic relations.
Iran and Turkey’s joint economic commission also plays a great role in this regard.
Likewise, regulations should be eased and grounds need to be prepared to help Tehran and Ankara increase their trade to the desired level.
Moreover, border facilities should be upgraded. Presently, facilities in the border checkpoints are not up to expectations. Hence, necessary facilities must be prepared for passengers and transiting goods.
What are Iran and Turkey’s points of view with regard to fighting terror groups such as Daesh?
Iran and Turkey have no hesitation in fighting terrorism. They have also established necessary cooperation to combat terrorism.
Talks held in the Kazakh city of Astana over the Syria crisis indicate that they are interested in entering into negotiations to tackle regional problems.
What’s Tehran and Ankara’s stance on a referendum on independence in Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region?
Iran and Turkey have a clear strategy toward the territorial integrity of their neighbors, including Iraq and Syria. Iran has objected to the referendum and Turkey has echoed the same voice. Tehran and Ankara have announced that holding the referendum runs counter to the principles of Iraq’s Constitution.
The two countries have also said the measure will not contribute to improving the current situation in Iraq. Hence, they are opposed to it.