According to the report of ICCIM Public Relations, "Mehdi Fakheri", ICCIM Vice President in international affairs, described the importance of trade relations between two countries in the specialty panel about the cooperation of Iranian and African private sectors which was held in political and international studies department of foreign ministry.
He introduced Iran Chamber and said it is the representative of private sector and it has 33 local chambers in different provinces and 92 associations and unions in different fields like: manufacturing, importing and exporting which there are the possibilities of introducing.
He added, "If we achieve to find some ways of doing real business, it could be a jump in our relations. There is a very good and high political intension to expand relations between Iran and Africa. In the past five years, Africa has been one of the priorities of our government foreign policy."
Fakheri continued, "If we compare just one of our neighbors, Iraq which has not been a free country up to two weeks ago and it has been an occupied country, but we have been doing with Iraq more business than 54 African countries. The reason is that we couldn't activate the private sectors in our relations, the political intension has not been implemented in a proper way."
He said, "The lines of credits established for African countries, you must have something about $4 billion of credits line for African countries. It has not been used because there are some implementations obstacles."
He pointed out, "we must present a better solution for achieving to the relations between private sectors and institutions."
He said, "Iran and African countries are commodity base countries and we are facing structural, financial and development challenges. The financial crisis has hits both countries. If we look to statistics, we will find that the brilliant year in our relations was 2007 which we achieved $600 million for the total value of exchanges. It must that we have an average of $ 10 million pair African countries."
He continued, "How we can expand the trade relations between two countries. The one way is bilateral relations with each of 54 African countries. The second way is where agreement could be established between different regional trade agreements. In these two directions, there could be some means and mechanisms. One of these means and mechanisms is to start buying and selling."
He added, "the Iranian private sector is in a position to offer agricultural products, agri-industry products, medicines and petrochemical products and then trading services and other services like: engineering services and construction services, etc. In both lines of activity, we can offer our possibilities to African countries."
ICCIM Vice-President in international affairs continued, "Iran is in a position to import all agricultural products from African countries, because we have importing different products from different countries. Unfortunately, in the last year the total amount of our relations reached only $260 million. We are the importer of some products like: sugar, coffee, cacao, etc. We need to expand our trade relations and we need to make more joint ventures in different fields. and we need to classify first the lines of corporation of mutual interest. Second way is the chambers and investment agencies can support these corporations and third way is to find the means of securing founds which are offered by the governments. For example, in mineral sector which is the strongest economic sector in Africa, we have five associations which affiliated to the members and they are ready to invest in African countries and at the same time they are ready to offer their products and services to the African countries and companies."
He added, "We can start our trade relations by mining, agriculture, pharmacy products and engineering services. We need to contract some agreements with continental African institutions like: U.A.C.C.I. (the Union of African Chamber of Commerce and Industry), the eastern African countries chamber of the western African countries chamber.
He admitted, "We as chambers are very much interested to conclude some agreements with these regional institutions, because we believe it will facilitate our work with African private sector. Although, in our countries the governments share in economy is higher than the European standards, but there is a good situation to conclude these kinds of agreements among private sectors."
Fakheri mentioned to the importance of the exchanging information by private sectors, dispatching delegation to African countries and the visiting the exhibitions of two countries.
"Michel Ndudzo", the general manager of Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe introduced this group and said, "our company is the representative of private sector in the field of Industry and it activates for 42 years in this field.
And it provides the opportunities for foreign investors. And also it keeps the competitor prices in the internal and external markets."
He said, "We have joint ventures with China, Korea, Italy, and we have had trade relations with Iran from 1997."
He added, "we have 36 subsidiaries including: petrochemical products, textile, mineral products, transportation, heavy and light machineries, packaging, electrical products and investing services. Yet we haven't introduced the industrial sector of Zimbabwe to the world by investing."
The Head of Dar-es-Salaam Chamber of Commerce introduced the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce and said,"This chamber was founded in 1988 and it has 22 years experience in trade. It is covering all 21 regional centers and it established up to 95 districts in the country. And we all together have 17000 members in the country including: the companies and institutions in different fields. In fact, Tanzania Chamber is the center of trading through which you can become familiar with any kind of trading in Tanzania.
He expressed, "we are ready to cooperate in construction projects with Iranian partners."
He said, "The main goods for exporting is cacao and we export it to U.K, India, Kenya, U.S.A … and unfortunately, we don't have any investor from Iran. This is the reason why we come here to Iran to see how to take some opportunities to invest in Tanzania. The trade relations between two countries are still low and we are importing a lot to Iran but we are exporting a little from Iran."
Finally, Fakheri added, "you mentioned very important points for Iranian exporters. As we know, the African countries are a subject to tariff zero by EU, therefore African countries who are willing to export must reduce the tariff for exporting their products to other countries. It's worthy to study that mechanism like that."