Aras free trade project to be launched next week

Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 2005

LONDON, July 31 (IranMania) - Construction of the first phase of the giant
free trade and industrial zone in the northwestern region of the country
will begin next week, said a local official.
According to a report faxed to Iran Daily by the Public Relations Office of
Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone, Ali Jalili, deputy managing director of
the zone, said the zone will be located on the border of Azerbaijan, Armenia
and Nakhichevan, adding that it will serve parts of Ardebil, East Azarbaijan
and West Azarbaijan provinces in northwestern Iran.
He further noted that the zone would observe environmental standards.
?Recreational centers, hotels, shopping centers, water sports facilities,
housing units and agriculture and processing industries will be created in
the zone,? he said, adding that the zone will have the potential to ensure
welfare for the inhabitants of the northwestern region.
The project was approved by the Parliament in 2003.
Experts say Aras free zone could contribute greatly to Iran?s efforts to
enter the large regional market in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
A member of the Parliament?s Economic Commission said earlier that once the
zone becomes operational, it could attract $20 bln in foreign investment.
Arsalan Fat?hi-Pour said it could help create greater trade interactions
between Iran and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), adding that
Russia could also meet its needs from Aras market.