TEHRAN – The ninth meeting of the Iran-Venezuela Joint Economic Committee was held in Tehran on Tuesday during which the two sides reached agreements for the expansion of cooperation in several areas, IRNA reported.
A senior delegation of Venezuelan officials including the country’s Transportation Minister Ramon Blazquez and Agriculture Minister Wilmar Castro Soteldo visited Iran to attend the mentioned meeting to explore new avenues for mutual cooperation.
The major economic event was co-chaired by Venezuelan Transport Minister Ramon Blazquez and Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics of Iran Mohammadreza Gharaei Ashtiani.
At the end of the meeting, the two sides inked a comprehensive cooperation document covering a variety of areas including industry, mining, energy, petrochemical, trade, agriculture, science, and technology.
Addressing the event, Ashtiani said: “We firmly believe that the successful holding of this committee meeting will be the beginning and a turning point in the macro and strategic relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under the leadership of Seyed Ebrahim Raisi and Nicolas Maduro, the presidents of the two countries.”
He stressed that Iran and Venezuela are two independent countries with close and common positions on regional and international issues.
Signing agreement on agricultural co-op
Prior to the two countries’ Joint Economic Committee meeting, Soteldo met with Iranian Agriculture Minister Javad Sadati-Nejad and the two sides inked a cooperation document on plant conservation and quarantine, the portal of Iran’s Agriculture Ministry reported.
As reported, the signed document is a prelude to future agreements in various agriculture fields including mechanization, contract farming, knowledge and technology transfer, etc.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Sadati-Nejad mentioned the visit of several Venezuelan delegations over the past few months, saying that these exchanges indicate the determination of the two countries to expand mutual ties.
Emphasizing the capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding the export of agricultural products, the minister expressed hope that the export of all kinds of agricultural products and food such as dried fruits, citrus fruits, apples and etc. to Venezuela will be realized as soon as possible.
He also called on the Venezuelan side to consider special tariff reductions for Iranian agricultural products in future exchanges.
NDF ready to invest in Venezuelan oil, petchem projects
Also, on the sidelines of the two countries’ Joint Economic Committee meeting, Blazquez met with Head of Iran’s National Development Fund (NDF) Mehdi Ghazanfari during which the Iranian side expressed readiness for investment in Venezuela’s oil and petrochemical projects.
Speaking in the meeting, Ghazanfari stated that the most important investment indicator for NDF is to achieve the minimum expected profit and at the same time face the lowest possible risk.
The official noted that NDF has assessed a large number of projects in Venezuela, saying: “After various reviews, in case of low project risk, the National Development Fund is ready to invest in oil and petrochemical projects in Venezuela.”
Blazquez for his part stated that he will convey the proposals of the National Development Fund to the Venezuelan government, adding that the Venezuelan president welcomes any investment in the country.
Expanding customs cooperation
Blazquez also held a meeting with Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) Alireza Moghadasi during which the two sides signed an agreement on customs cooperation.
According to Moghadasi, mutual assistance and cooperation in technical fields, exchange of information between the customs of the two countries, especially focusing on the mutual identification of authorized economic operators (AEO) and risk management, are among the important provisions of this agreement.
Photo: Iranian Defense Minister Mohammadreza Ashtiani (R) and Venezuelan Transport Minister Ramon Blazquez shake hand after exchanging signed MOU documents in Tehran on Tuesday.