TEHRAN- As announced by the CEO of Kish Free Zone Organization, 70 infrastructure and development projects are underway in this free zone.
Stating that most of these projects are carried out in the infrastructure sector to improve the situation of investors in the island, Jafar Ahangaran estimated the value of investments for these projects at 33 trillion rials (around 785.7 million dollars). ).
The operation of implementing most of the projects has already been completed, the official said, adding that the implementation of the projects would create direct jobs for 8,500 people, which will reach 6,890 when the projects are completed.
He further said that in recent years, the organization has put various development programs in the field of airport, port and urban development on its agenda in order to lay the foundation for improvement. the quality of services to residents, tourists and investors.
The island of Kish, with an area of 92 square kilometers and a population of 42,000, is located 18 kilometers from the mainland in the Persian Gulf.
During the past two decades, free and special economic zones have played an important role in the Iranian economy, and the Iranian government has seriously pursued a program of developing existing zones and establishing new ones.
According to Morteza Bank, the former secretary of Iran’s High Council of Free Zones, more than 40% of Iranian exports go through the country’s free zones and special economic zones and $ 169 billion in commodities have been exported from these areas over the past seven years. .
The development of the mentioned areas has become more important since the reimposition of US sanctions on the Iranian economy in November 2018, as the Islamic Republic began to reduce its dependence on oil revenues while increasing its domestic production and non-oil exports.
Although the sanctions disrupted Iran’s economic activities, they could not hinder the development of Iranian free trade and special economic zones; in fact, the development of these areas has even accelerated.
The measures taken by the government for the development of the mentioned areas have borne fruit significantly so that despite the negative impacts of the US sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, the trade balance of the mentioned areas has remained positive in recent years.
At the end of April, the secretary of the Supreme Council of Iranian Free Zones, Hamidreza Mo’meni, announced that the trade balance of the country’s free and special economic zones had been positive for the past two years despite the country’s negative foreign trade balance. .
Today, the free zones are in good condition and positive development measures have been taken which have led to significant growth in these zones, he said.
According to the official, the country’s free and economic zones should become more productive so that they can finance their own development projects in the future.
In early May, Mo’meni announced the approval of the creation of 13 new special economic zones and seven free trade zones across the country.
“After discussing all the proposed zones and based on the experiences of the existing zones, the creation of seven free zones and 13 special economic zones has been approved,” the official said.
The mentioned free zones will be established in Kordestan, Ilam, Sistan-Baluchestan, Bushehr, Kermanshah, Ardebil and Golestan, while the special zones will be based in Fars, Yazd, Zanjan, Lorestan, West Azarbaijan, Qazvin and etc.
The establishment of free 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 trade zones were established in the south of the country. The first was the Kish Free Trade Area established in 1368 on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf and the second was the Qeshm Free Trade Area established the following year on Qeshm Island in the Strait. of Ormuz.
Some five other free zones have also been established in the country since then, including Chabahar in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, Arvand in the south-western part of the province of Khuzestan, Anzali in the north of the province of Gilan, Aras in the province of eastern Azerbaijan and Maku in western Azerbaijan. Province, both in the northwest of the country.