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Iran keen to enhance non-oil trade with India

Iran is looking for more business with India in non-oil sectors to boost the bilateral trade, said its Consul General Hassan Noorian who sees great potential for cooperation in various non-oil fields like pharma, IT, electronics, automobile spare parts and food processing.

He was speaking at a meeting, where a business delegation which recently visited Iran shared their experiences.

Asked to comment on reports that the bilateral trade had come down to $10 billion from April to December last year, the Iranian diplomat attributed it to the cut in Indian oil imports due to Western sanctions on Tehran.

The bilateral trade between India and Iran during 2011-12 was $15 billion, majority of which was oil imports by India, the second largest oil importer from Iran.

The consul general pointed out that both the countries had agreed to focus on trade in non-oil sectors and planned to increase the bilateral trade to $25 billion in four years.

He said India's recent decision to invest $100 million in free trade zone in Chabahar was an example of growing ties between the two countries. He said the port located at the confluence of Indian Ocean and Oman Sea offer Indian companies access to the markest in Afghanistan and the Central Asia.

He said this port would also have greater strategic importance for India after the foreign forces leave Afghanistan in 2014.

The consul general said Indian companies were given special status in Iran and India was the only country whose firms were allowed to invest in oil sector. He thanked India for continuing its independent policy and remaining a friend of Iran despite the sanctions by the West.

A 23-member business delegation was taken to Iran by the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI) and the Chamber of Commerce for Iran Trade Promotion (CCITP). It also attended the first export capabilities exhibition of Iran held at Tehran from April 27 to 30.

Prem Kumar, president CCITP, said the delegation signed three MoUs with chambers of commerce of Tehran, Shiraz and Bushehr to promote business and trade. He said there was immense potential for strengthening the trade and business ties in various sectors.