The backwardness of foreign trade is the result of the government's distrust of non-oil trade
The former head of the Trade Development Organization of Iran, referring to the backwardness in the country's foreign trade, said: "This issue is the result of the disbelief and belief of our government officials in non-oil exports."
According to the International Iranian Stone Exhibition, one of the requirements of Iran's economy in the context of sanctions is separation from oil revenues and the growth and development of non-oil trade, and given the importance of this issue in recent years, officials have repeatedly stressed the need to develop non-oil trade. Neighboring countries emphasize.
Despite these emphases and while the country's foreign trade was expected to increase significantly in recent years with a multiplication of currency prices, but we saw that the country's foreign trade fell last year compared to 1398 and the value of trade exchanges In 1398, which was equivalent to 84 billion and 897 million dollars, it decreased to a figure of 73 million dollars last year.
Accordingly, Iran's exports in the first 12 months of 1398 from 41 billion and 370 million dollars to 34 billion and 500 million dollars last year and Iran's imports from 43 billion and 735 million dollars in 1398 to 38 billion and 400 million dollars .
Therefore, we talked to Mohammad Reza Maududi, the former head of the Trade Development Organization of Iran and an expert in the field of foreign trade, about what should be done to develop trade this year, which is as follows:
Fars: Considering the need to distance oneself from oil revenues and the development of the country's foreign trade, what are the reasons for the failure of the country's foreign trade in recent years? In your opinion, what plan should the current government and especially the future government have for the development of the country's foreign trade, and with what plan can the situation of the country's foreign trade be slightly improved this year compared to last year?
Mawdudi: Unfortunately, foreign trade is not a priority in government programs at the moment, and so we see that foreign trade is the biggest victim of the country's economic sector.
Over the past years, the position of the country's trade sector has been severely degraded and limited because individuals, organizations and institutions for foreign trade decide that they do not have enough experience and information in this field and therefore can not be the consequences of a decision in this Predict the field correctly, so not only are decisions made in the field of foreign trade that are inefficient, but these decisions weaken the country's foreign trade, and worst of all, no one is responsible for these decisions.
* Despite a 7-fold increase in the price of foreign exchange, exports fell by 30%
Examining the foreign trade statistics of the country during the last 10 years, it can be seen that our country's exports in 1399 had a slightly lower level of exports during the last 10 years, and this shows that there was a problem with a job and despite the fact that It was always predicted that with the realization of the exchange rate, exports would jump, but it was proved that with the 7-fold increase in the exchange rate, not only did our exports not increase 7-fold, but also decrease by 30% compared to before the sanctions. We set a negative record.
The main problem in the field of foreign trade of our country is that people decide for foreign trade who not only do not have expertise in this field but also do not believe in foreign trade and therefore we see organizations like the Ministry of Oil in comparison with the Trade Development Organization of Iran. He is in charge of the foreign trade of the country. They have two incomparable weights. As the Ministry of Petroleum expands day by day, the Foreign Trade Development Organization, to which a significant portion of the country's revenues depend in recent years, and even our non-oil trade has several times the turnover of the oil trade, is becoming less and less important. And its powers are diminished.
Weakness in our foreign trade is due to weakness in various sectors. In the field of banking relations, we have done very badly and we have not been able to establish good relations in this field in the world during and after Borjam, and in addition, our political relations, which are a prerequisite for establishing and developing trade relations, are getting worse day by day. Be.
In the domestic laws of the country, despite the fact that in the name of export protection, a cost is imposed on imports, and in the name of export protection, they add one percent to the effective tariff rate, and this amount is also collected by customs. Exports are not paid, so obtaining this amount is in the name of exports and is not exported. Also, there is no export incentive and no incentive support is provided to exporters.
Our trade diplomacy programs have been severely weakened, the number of our trade advisers has been drastically reduced, and we have no regional or monetary agreements with neighboring countries, so we do not see any effective action in the field of foreign trade. We are facing foreign trade, which shows that there is no belief in foreign trade in the country at all, and decision-makers do not prioritize the country's foreign trade at all.
Also, considering that this year, with the upcoming elections, we are discussing a change of government and a change of management and attitudes, it seems unlikely that we will see a change in the field of foreign trade or a new plan will be implemented.
Fars: How effective is the focus on trade with 15 neighboring countries in the development of our foreign trade, and has there been a change in this regard despite government slogans about the need for development with neighboring countries?
Mawdudi: Trade with neighboring countries is one of the potential and very desirable potential for the country, and 50% of world trade, despite free trade, is done in the form of regional trade, while our share of regional treaties and unions. The peripheral economy is less than 2%, which shows that we are even far from the world average in this area.
* Development of trade with neighbors is just a slogan
But Iran has absorbed less than $ 25 billion of its $ 1 trillion import capacity to neighboring countries, which is a very small figure, and this meager performance in exporting to its neighbors shows that the government is content with just its slogan of expanding trade with its neighbors. Has done and has not taken any operational action.
In order to develop trade with neighbors, we should increase the number of trade advisors in these countries and conclude regional agreements with these countries, and by defining trade megaprojects, increase our share of exports to these countries and establish banking relations with these countries. Let's create facilities while none of these measures have been taken and we have only chanted the slogan of the need to develop trade with our neighbors.
Not only has the government not taken operational action to provide the necessary infrastructure to develop trade with its neighbors, but it has blocked the export of a good whenever good conditions are in place for export and trade with neighboring countries under the pretext of regulating the market.
While the directives of the creation of the hour were not to be issued, but as soon as a commodity becomes more expensive in the market or problems arise for its supply for any reason, the export of that commodity is stopped, so our foreign trade pays no attention to the 1404 perspective. No, and all the decisions that are made in the field of trade are looking inward, and we do not follow the right path in the field of foreign trade, and we are only happy with the slogans and capacities.
We whereas a slight increase trade with Eurasian happy we have our business in Iraq has declined and should know that sometimes exported to several countries in the region of a billion dollars a year, so the provision of the necessary infrastructure for trade to Iraq Be a priority for us.
Our trade with most neighboring countries and the region is very small and sometimes exports to several countries reach one billion dollars a year, for example, our exports to countries such as Azerbaijan and Armenia are in the range of 200 to 300 million dollars, or our annual exports to a country like Belarus is about $ 50 million, so maintaining trade with one country is very important, but despite this, we still have not done well in trade with that country.
The development of export markets such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan is very important in the context of sanctions, but unfortunately in relation to these countries, the same trade is going on in the traditional way and we have not made any change to develop trade with these countries.
Fars: One of the measures taken by different countries in the world to develop trade is to use the capacity of business advisors. Why does our foreign trade sector not pay attention to this issue and has reduced the number of its business advisors in recent years?
Mawdudi: In recent years, there have been criticisms of the performance of business advisers, but despite these criticisms, no one has mentioned the restrictions that business advisers have in a country. Our trade advisor in the export destination country should pursue all matters related to foreign trade with the target country empty-handed and without any facilities, and it is natural that with the limited capacity that each person has and without the facilities, it is not possible to achieve the goals.
Therefore, one should be realistic about business advisors and one should not expect that despite all the restrictions, they will be able to do a great and special job in the country's business.
Incidentally, despite all the criticisms of the performance of business advisors, a statistical study of the performance of foreign trade shows that in any country where business advisors are present, the performance of foreign trade with that country has also improved, so we can not completely deny the performance of business advisors. You have to measure their performance based on their capabilities.
In Iraq, for example, the office of our business advisor in Iraq is a room in the corner of the embassy garage, while the annual trade between Iran and Iraq is significant.
Under these circumstances, what message does a businessman and businessman from another country receive when he goes to that office to negotiate with a business advisor? With that situation, can the businessman and merchant of another country hope to trade with Iran? These issues are very important in the field of international trade, and business advisers from other countries have the most luxurious and well-equipped offices.
Therefore, even if the highest official of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade, ie the Minister, who has full authority over the foreign trade of the country, is assigned to a country as a trade advisor after the ministry, he still can not do anything empty-handed and needs It has a series of infrastructures and facilities.
The presence of trade advisers in export target countries is important and countries around the world are well aware of this, which is why a country like China has 1,500 trade advisers in different countries to manage its $ 2,500 billion in exports, and in some Its export target countries have even more than 20 trade advisers.
Of course, it should be noted that in addition to the Trade Development Organization as the public sector in charge of trade development, chambers of commerce should also play a role in this regard and one of the three missions of joint marketing chambers in target countries It is an export, and our joint chambers of commerce, in which the most elite people in the field of trade work, must play their role in the field of foreign trade development.
In total, according to the policy of market regulation and the approach of the Ministry of Samat, the biggest victim of the economy to foreign trade is basically a charge of domestic needs and the trustee needs of the country's foreign so given that the lay people to the field of foreign trade They decide that it is unlikely that the seeds that have been planted in the country's foreign trade over the past years will turn green.
So our backlog in the country's trade last year was not just a function of the corona crisis and sanctions, although these issues have affected our foreign trade situation; But the main problem and the real cause of our historical backwardness in foreign trade are more serious issues such as indifference and disbelief in non-oil exports among our governments at different times. Basically, we are going the wrong way of doing business.