Iran and Turkey are among the lucrative investment options always available to foreign companies seeking partners in the Middle East.
In the past few years, the latter had overtaken the former in terms of absorbing foreign funds due to a host of reasons, including greater political and economic stability as well as absence of international sanctions.
At present, however, there appears to be a shift in the direction of foreign funds towards Iran with a large number of investors targeting the country’s agriculture sector.
A number of reasons account for this growing interest in the Iranian market, including the removal of Western sanctions on Tehran, signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the P5+1, latest developments and crises in Turkey as well as the Iranian market becoming more open and welcoming to foreigners.
In a Farsi report, Jame Jam news website has sought the opinion of a number of foreign investors about the advantages of Iran’s market and the reasons why the country’s agriculture sector is currently a more suitable place for investment, compared to that of Turkey.
The report said while the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran has reduced the tariff for the import of a number of Turkish products, many foreign investors maintain that, given the present disorders in the country, Iran is a more attractive destination.
500 Million Customers in Iran and Neighbouring States
Commenting on the investment advantages of Iran, a Finnish producer of gardening equipment, who has recently visited Iran, said Iran offers almost everything that international companies and capital owners have always yearned for and sought in their worldwide search for lucrative investment targets: Favourable condition and economic stability.
He stressed, “We have been observing Iran’s market for the past two years and have analysed those investment advantages of the country that is related to our economic activities. We have, finally, come to this conclusion that the country’s agriculture sector currently offers a golden investment opportunity.”
The Finnish producer maintained that economic and political stability coupled with heightened security are among the acceptable advantages Iran offers to foreign funders.
“Iran’s special benefits in addition to the highly susceptible markets located in the proximity of the country as well as the opportunity it provides foreign companies with for sending their products to other regional states are all extremely attractive for foreign investors. According to our research studies, there is a 500-million strong market in Iran’s proximity which can be used optimally.”
Greater Investment Advantages
Expounding on Iran’s investment opportunities, a Canadian investor, said the country is presented by international media as an unsuitable investment target and closed market, adding, whereas, the truth about the country is in sharp contrast with the [West’s] propaganda.
“That is why foreign companies are faced with a much different world, from what they had been presented with, once they arrive in the country.
“We have been present in Iran’s market for the past seven years and precisely know about the country’s investment needs and advantages. Iran provides foreign financiers with a host of opportunities, particularly in its agriculture sector, which can benefit both the country [itself] and the whole region,” he added.
He said Iran is currently among the most attractive investment targets among the regional states, for it is extremely stable and secure and offers a large number of natural as well as economic advantages.
“Compared to that of Turkey, Iran’s agro sector offers a larger number of special advantages to foreign investors, as in addition to its more suitable climate, it has greater expertise in the field of agriculture. Among the country’s best investment options are production of pistachio, saffron and pomegranate.”
Elaborating on the same issue, an Indian financier said Iran and Turkey have more or less the same climate in their agricultural regions.
“We have carried out comprehensive and detailed studies on both regions, and have concluded that in Turkey, only Antalya and Izmir enjoy suitable potentials for investment and have witnessed a turnover of $400 million. Whereas, Iran has an investment capacity almost 10 times larger than that of Turkey.”
He stressed that geography-wise, Iran comprises 31 provinces, of which 20 are highly suitable for agro sector investment.
The Indian investor said his company’s trade balance with Iran stands at $300 million, adding, given its advantages and potentials, Iran’s domestic market is rapidly expanding.
“I expect that the figure multiplies in the near future. Iranian market’s expertise and capabilities are the main factors tempting foreign producers of agricultural inputs to start joint production and expand cooperation.”