TEHRAN – The secretary of Iran’s High Council for Free Zones has said that 40-45 percent of Iran’s exports come from the country’s free trade zones (FTZs) and special economic zones.
Saeed Mohammad also mentioned making investments in these zones and said that about 110 trillion rials (about $423 million) plus $300 million of investments have been made in the free trade zones, and 700 trillion rials (approximately $2.692 billion) plus $530 million in special economic zones over the past five years.
The mentioned investment resulted in the establishment of 2,500 industrial units in these zones, resulting in the export of 1 billion dollars of products from the free zones and 15 billion dollars from the special zones per year, which is equivalent to 40 to 45% of Iranian exports.
The establishment of free trade zones in Iran dates back to the Iranian calendar year 1368 (March 1989-March 1990) following the fall in the country’s oil revenues the previous year which prompted the government to promote non-oil exports.
Iran’s first two free zones were established in the south of the country. The first was the Kish Free Trade Zone established in 1368 on the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf and the second was the Qeshm Free Trade Zone established the following year on the island of Qeshm in the Strait of Hormuz.
Some five other free trade zones have also been established in the country since then, including Chabahar in southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, Arvand in southwestern Khuzestan province, Anzali in northern Gilan Province, Aras in Eastern Azerbaijan Province and Maku in Western Azerbaijan. Province, both in the northwest of the country.
While almost three decades have passed since the beginning of the activity of free trade zones in Iran, their intended goals have not been fully achieved and their development still faces some obstacles.
The lack of proportionality between the equipment and the objectives, the absence of a national definition of the performance of the free zones, the limited resources for the establishment and construction of the infrastructures, the absence of overall management between the zones and the non-full enforcement of zone management law are some of the impediments to the activity and development of free trade zones in the country.