0340 GMT April 06, 2020
Achilbay Ramatov, who was speaking in a meeting with Iran's Minister for Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi on Tuesday, further called for expediting the project, IRNA reported.
He recalled that a cooperation agreement was signed to build Herat-Mazar Sharif railroad on the Iran-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan corridor in 2017 following talks between Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani.
The 100-kilometer Hairatan-Mazar Sharif railroad was constructed in 2009 by Uzbekistan, and it was agreed that the remaining section of the railroad to Herat would be constructed by an international consortium with financial assistance by Uzbekistan, Ramatov added.
Speeding up the construction of Khaf-Herat railway will make Chabahar Port in southeastern Iran and Bandar Abbas, south Iran, more accessible for shipping millions of tons of goods, the Uzbek minister said.
He also said that his country seeks to boost trade with Iran and will play host to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani this summer.
Ramatov noted that the Iran-Uzbekistan trade target is set at $500 million for 2018, putting last year's figure at $325 million.
Speaking at the same meeting, Akhoundi said that the grounds for creating the logistic parks of the Ashgabat corridor have been prepared in Iranian ports and border areas to make full use of the corridor's capacity.
Akhoundi further said that creating logistic parks along the corridor can be a field of trilateral cooperation if Turkmenistan wishes to join the undertaking.
On Monday, Ramatov attended the 12th meeting of Iran-Uzbekistan joint economic, commercial, scientific and technical cooperation commission in Tehran.
During the visit, the Uzbekistani delegation expressed interest in exporting 5,000 tons of oil and 100,000 tons of wheat to Iran, announcing that the country is interested in buying up to three million tons of crude oil from Iran annually.
Addressing the meeting, Ramatov said, "In 2017, we reached an agreement with Iranian banks within the framework of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). If there is no issue with the FATF, we too will have no problems in our banking dealings with Iran."
Speaking in this meeting, Iran's Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari said, "We are interested in establishing banking ties at the highest levels because this is among the main obstacles to broadening trade ties with Uzbekistan."
Last October a delegation led by Uzbekistan's Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov visited Tehran. During the visit, agreements worth $25 million were signed for the supply of agricultural and textile products.
Uzbekistan is also willing to buy crude oil from Iran, but due to Uzbekistan's lack of access to the Caspian Sea or a direct pipeline to Iran, the fuel must be exported overland or via railroad.
Uzbekistan is also pursuing access routes via Iran to the Persian Gulf.