TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran and Turkey plan to triple two-way annual trade to $30 billion by 2015, officials of the neighouring states said on Monday ahead of a visit by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to the Islamic republic.
“Without doubt, the signing of mutual agreements can achieve the objective of the leaders of both countries to increase the level of trade to 30 billion dollars,” said Iran’s Commerce Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari at a meeting with Turkish Planning Minister Jodat Yilmaz, state news agency IRNA reported.
Yilmaz agreed, saying the “leaders of both the countries have set a clear target for future trade.”
“This goal is easily achievable given the current capacity,” he said, while Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the target was “not out of reach over five years.”
Ghazanfari and Yilmaz also hoped that a tariff pact would be signed during Gul’s visit next week.
Annual trade between the two countries has already surged from one billion dollars to 11 billion over the past decade.
Iran and Turkey, with a combined population of 150 million, have increasingly grown closer, with Ankara emerging as a key ally of Tehran in its delicate nuclear negotiations.
Iran currently exports between 15 to 18 million cubic metres (5.29 trillion cubic feet to 7.06 trillion cubic feet) of gas to Turkey.
In July, it signed a one-billion-euro (1.35-billion-dollar) contract with a Turkish company to build a 660-kilometre (400-mile) pipeline to export 60 million cubic metres of gas daily within three years to Turkey and Europe.