Iran proposes investment protection treaty with India

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) Iran has offered to sign an investment protection treaty with India and suggested doubling the bilateral trade to $30 billion by 2015.

Iranian Economic Affairs and Finance Minister Seyed Shamsodin Hosseini said here Thursday that two-way trade had increased from $9.3 billion to nearly $15 billion in last three years. ‘Still, it is not satisfactory.’

Speaking at a seminar on investment opportunities in Iran, Hosseini said India and Iran could ‘double the trade volume by 100 per cent in the next five years to $30 billion’.

Hosseini is here to co-chair the 16th India-Iran Joint Commission,

beginning Thursday. He said he will meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee later in the day. ‘I will certainly bring the issue of signing a bilateral investment protection treaty with Mukherjee during the meet.’

Hosseini hoped the two-day Commission meeting would help to ‘remove all barriers to two-way trade and facilitate the flow of investments.’

He invited Indian firms to invest in mining, pharmaceuticals, transportation, automotive, textiles and agriculture sectors.

Further, he said, the government was planning disinvestment in several major firms like refineries and power plants, which could be a golden opportunity for Indian corporate groups to invest in Iran.

Behrouz Alishiri, deputy minister for economic affairs and finance, said the Iranian delegation had brought 50-60 projects in several sectors for possible joint ventures.

Hosseini said Iran, which is India’s second largest oil supplier, will ‘provide sustainable energy security’ to the South Asian nation.

He also said that Iran was ready to assist India in facilitating access to Central Asian nations.

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