Projects worth $13b to be implemented in free trade, special economic zones

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An official with the Iranian Free Zones High Council announced that about 600 development projects worth over 550 trillion rials (about $13.095 billion) will be implemented in the country’s free trade zones and special economic zones by the end of the current government’s incumbency (August 2021).Ahmad Jamali, the deputy secretary-general of the Free Zones High Council for the economic affairs, also said that the mentioned projects will create jobs for 102,000 people, ILNA reported.

Last week, the secretary of Free Zones High Council said that over 40 percent of Iran’s exports is done through the country’s free trade zones and special economic zones. Morteza Bank believes that the figure would have been higher if there had not been the banking limitations due to the sanctions.

The current government has defined special programs for the development of these zones and commodities worth $169 billion have been exported from these areas in the past seven years. The mentioned programs have also led to the attraction of domestic and foreign investment to the free and special zones.

Bank has previously announced that the value of exports from Iran’s free trade zones and special economic zones stood at $17 billion during the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 19). He said that commodities worth $5 billion produced in these zones have been sent to different areas in the country during the previous year. Bank put the value of products imported to the free trade zones and special economic zones at $5 billion in the past year. Emphasizing that the value of imports to these zones is very low compared to the worth of exports from them, the official said, “We are planning to reach the same level of exports in the current year as well.”

In recent years, considering the important role that free and special zones play in promoting the country’s export and employment, Iran has been seriously pursuing the development of its existing zones and the establishment of new zones as well. More development measures in this field have been taking since the U.S. re-imposition of sanctions on the Iranian economy in November 2018, as Iran is reducing its dependence on the oil income while elevating its domestic production and non-oil exports.

In a ceremony earlier this month for the inauguration of 58 development projects with a total investment of about 150 trillion rials (over $3.5 billion) in the country’s free trade zones and special economic zones through video conference, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said these zones are no longer only distribution hubs and have become production centers.

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