Director General of the Trade Organization and Development of Iran's Ministry of Agriculture Jamal Modaresi has rejected claims that a ban on sugar import has been lifted.
The import for domestic consumption is still banned, but every once in a while the ban is lifted for importing raw sugar which would be exported after it is refined, he said, IRNA news agency reported April 7.
Modaresi said the import, which is allowed only in specific times of the year, serves keeping sugar processing factories running.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Abbas Keshavarz also said that no import permission has been issued for the current Iranian fiscal year (March 21, 2015 to March 20, 2016).
The domestic market is full and there is no need for any import, he asserted.
Earlier , Qasem Falahati, the secretary of the union of Iranian sugar producers said that the ministry of agriculture has agreed with importing sugar during the first quarter of the current Iranian fiscal year.
Falahati said on Jan.12 that considering the volume of stored sugar, there is no need to import sugar in the current Iranian year.
It is projected that 650,000 metric tons of sugar beet will harvested in the current year, which is sufficient for producing sugar to meet the demands of the domestic market for a year, he added.
Seeking deepening of bilateral ties with India, Iran today pitched for early completion of the strategically important Chabahar port project, saying it would provide access to energy-rich Central Asia and Afghanistan and help economies of the region.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, on a two-day visit here, said the issue will figure in his talks tomorrow with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.
"Chabahar and a corridor, both rail and road from Chabahar to Afghanistan and Central Asia, is a project we are working together with India. I hope that in this trip we can take practical steps (to implement the project)," Zarif told reporters.
Aspects like investment and construction of roads to link the port are expected to figure in the talks.
India's interest in the Iranian port is not only to get a direct access to Central Asia but also to facilitate import of minerals from Afghanistan.
Chabahar Port is located 72 kilometers West of Pakistan's Gwadar port and is situated at a strategic location.
Zarif said there will be security benefit from the port project as it has potential to spur economic growth in the region affected by terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal trade.
"This region is suffering from a war economy, drug economy and from illegal trade economy. If we can provide an alternative economy, then we can deal with the problems like terrorism," he said.
The Iranian Foreign Minister said both India and Iran should work together to ensure stability and overall growth of the region.
"There is a whole range of economic projects that we can work together on. There are transportation projects, energy projects. There are lot of areas that we can work together in that will benefit both the countries and ensure peace and security in the region," said Zarif.
Seeking to enhance trade and economic cooperation with New Delhi and make the financial transaction system stable for importers and exporters of both India and Iran, Tehran has proposed the opening of local bank branches in each other’s soil. Indian exporters have been facing uncertainty over payment issues with their Iranian counterparts. The rupee payment system was recentlyput in operation after a nod from the Finance Ministry to waive “withholding tax” for transactions with Iran. Nearly Rs. 2,000 crore was stuck in the pipeline due to delay in notifying the new rules. “We feel 45 per cent rupee payment mechanism is fine for the time being. But with India looking to grab huge economic opportunities in Iran, it is imperative we open local bank branches in each other’s countries to ensure a stable and reliant financial system,” a senior member of the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) said. With Indian exports hit by slowdown in the traditional markets of Europe and U.S., Iran could potentially provide a great opportunity for Indian companies, both in the private and public sectors, to boost exports by opening up a huge market for items such as rice, tea, yarn, fabric and energy, including fertilizers. “The Iranian government has approached its Indian counterpart with a proposal to allow Persian Bank to open its branch in Mumbai and similarly, an Indian bank could open its branch in Tehran. It will be a win-win situation for both the countries. The matter is pending with the Finance Ministry,” officials in the Commerce and Industry Ministry said. Iran was waiting for the Finance Ministry’s word to its proposal. Iran is the second biggest exporter of crude oil to India and is keen on expanding trade in other fields, including water management and agriculture. “They are basically looking for transfer of technology, especially help in modernising their textile industry which is up for a major haul,” the official said. Iran has also invited Indian companies, especially those engaged in the railway sector, to invest in putting in place a north-south railway corridor that could possibly open a new route for trading and reduce the time taken to export goods to Europe from the present 30 to 40 days to just 12 to 19 days. “There is an offer for Indian companies to take up construction of this critical corridor, which will start in Chaubahar port city in the south and will continue up to the city of Mashhad,” the senior FIEO member said. The corridor would connect Iran to Caspian Sea littoral countries and Afghanistan.