Domestic investment in Iran’s free zones up nearly 40%

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The secretary of Iranian Free Zones High Council said domestic investment in the country’s free economic, industrial zones increased nearly 40 percent in the past Iranian calendar year of 1397 (ended on March 20), IRIB reported on Tuesday.

According to Morteza Bank, domestic investment in the country’s free zones during the past Iranian calendar year stood at 67.9 trillion rials (about $1.66 billion), nearly 40 percent more than its preceding year’s 48 trillion rials (about $1.142 billion) in the same period.

The official noted that considering the impact of the U.S. sanctions, obviously foreign investment decreased in the mentioned period, however 60 percent of the planned foreign investment for the year was achieved. “Last year, our goal was to attract $600 million of foreign investment of which we managed to realize $400 million or 60 percent,” Bank said.

Mentioning the exports from the country’s free and especial economic zones, Bank noted that in the mentioned year, the total exports from free zones and special economic zones stood at more than $18 billion, of which nearly $16 billion came from special economic zones and about $2.5 billion from free zones.

He also underlined the number of jobs created in the country’s free and especial economic zones, saying that last year over 25,000 jobs were created in the mentioned zones.

According to Akbar Eftekhari, the deputy secretary of Free Zones High Council for production, exports and technology affairs, there are seven free trade zones and 25 special economic zones in Iran in which nearly 500,000 people are working in 1,700 production units.

Establishment of free trade zones in Iran dates back to Iranian calendar year 1368 (March 1989- March 1990) following the fall in the country’s oil income in the preceding year which prompted the government to promote the non-oil exports.

The first two free trade zones of Iran were established in the south of country. The first one was Kish Free Trade Zone established in 1368 on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf and the second one was Qeshm Free Trade Zone established the year after on Qeshm Island in the Strait of Hormuz.

Some five other free trade zones have been also established in the country since then, including Chabahar in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Arvand in southwestern Khuzestan Province, Anzali in northern Gilan Province, Aras in East-Azarbaijan Province and Maku in West-Azarbaijan Province, both in the northwest of the country.

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