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Kazakhstan, Iran Discuss Closer Cooperation to Enhance Trade

By Nigar Bayramli April 28, 2023

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Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi discussed closer cooperation in a meeting in Tehran, on April 26, 2023. / president.ir

Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on April 26 discussed closer cooperation in the trade during Kazakh PM's visit to Iran.

The two discussed current issues of trade, economics, "investments in the transit infrastructure" from Central Asia to the Gulf and cross-border cooperation, Tengrinews.kz reported on April 27.

Smailov said the issue of developing Kazakh-Iranian relations remains high on the agenda.

"Currently, the governments of the two countries are actively working on the practical implementation of the tasks set at the highest level. I am confident that this year will be marked by new high results of our cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats," Smailov said.

In turn, Raisi said that Iranian-Kazakh trade had seen "significant progress" over the past year, but the current level of relations was "not adequate for the capacities of the two countries".

The Iranian president urged the "doubling of efforts", and described Kazakhstan as one of the "influential countries" in the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.

Also, on April 26, Iran and Kazakhstan signed five memoranda of understanding (MoUs) at a ceremony in Tehran attended by the Smailov and Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber.

The MoUs pertained to economic free zones, youth, sports and tourism, and were signed by respective officials and ministers.

During the meeting with Mokhber, Smailov said that Kazakhstan was ready to increase exports on 75 commodity items worth about $250 million.

He stressed that Iran is one of Kazakhstan's key partners in the Persian Gulf, saying that trade between the two countries grew by almost 20% to $528 million in 2022.

"I am sure that as our economic potential is fully unlocked, we will be able to bring the index of mutual trade up to $3 billion,” Smailov said.

In turn, Mokhber noted the "high potential" for bilateral cooperation between the countries in all areas of the economy, and outlined prospects for cooperation in industry, energy, agriculture, health and tourism.

He also called for the maximum use of regional and international transport corridors to increase the flow of goods.

The first meeting of the Kazakh-Iranian working group on agriculture, to be held in Tehran this year, is expected to boost cooperation between Kazakhstan and Iran in this sector. Kazakhstan will also appoint a special trade representative at its embassy in Iran to increase trade.