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"10 Fair Questions" - Geopolitical Overview - Thursday - April 27, 2017

Received via email at 11:29 AM EDT for publication. ~ Dinar Chronicles Here are 10 fair questions awakened minds are asking themselves this ...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sun. PM KTFA News Articles 4-16-17

KTFA

Samson » April 16th, 2017


FINEX 2017 Underscores Iranian Economic, Investment Rebound

Sunday, April 16, 2017

From left :Valiollah Seif, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ali Tayyebnia at FINEX 2017 in Tehran on April 15

by Behrooz Imeni

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif heralded better days for Iran's economy as a result of the opportunities emerging on the back of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the formal name of Iran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Zarif was speaking at the 10th International Exhibition of Exchange, Bank and Insurance–aka FINEX 2017–held in Tehran on Saturday. It runs until April 18.

"The path for the participation of our companies in global production chain, which is the best way of providing jobs for young workforces, has been smoothened," he said.

The opening ceremony was attended by high-ranking Iranian officials, namely Minister of Economy Ali Tayyebnia, Iran's Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari, President of the Central Insurance of Iran Abdolnasser Hemmati, Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif and the head of Iran's Securities and Exchange Organization, Shapour Mohammadi.

Iran's top diplomat noted that foreign investment witnessed a whopping surge of 1,300% to surpass 12.5 trillion rials ($335 million) during the four years of President Hassan Rouhani's tenure.

"If this trend of foreign investments continues, foreign companies and investors will start to come around and trust the safety of our country and its market more and more. As a result, our companies can use that opportunity and start their activities in international markets," he added.

Zarif said the "unjust" international sanctions on the Iranian economy targeted three key economic sectors, namely oil, transportation and banking.

He pointed to the sensitivity of the banking system's sanctions, as they increased the cost of international trade by impairing the banking system and raised the risk of doing business with Iran by disheartening foreign investors.

Scaling Back Restrictions

Zarif elaborated on the fruits of JCPOA for the banking system, namely the reconnection of Iranian banks to SWIFT (the international interbank messaging network), the temporary removal from the FATF black list, resumption of correspondent relations with foreign banks and the unfreezing of CBI's foreign assets while forming new ties with other countries' central banks, especially those of the European Union.

In 2012, SWIFT cut off Iranian banks subjected to EU sanctions over Iran’s nuclear energy program, which shut down a major avenue of doing business with the rest of the world.

The intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, which is the global standard-setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), issued a public statement on February 24 in which it welcomed Iran's adoption of high-level political commitment to address its AML/CFT deficiencies and its decision to seek technical assistance in the plan's implementation.

This led to the suspension of countermeasures for 12 months to monitor Iran's progress in implementing the action plan, but if FATF determines that Iran has not demonstrated sufficient progress in implementing the action plan at the end of that period, FATF’s call for counter-measures will be reimposed.

The minister of economy also delivered a speech at the ceremony, noting that the economic growth rate stood at -6.8% when President Hassan Rouhani took office four years ago but now with the support of Iranian people and all sectors of the economy, the government managed to accelerate the growth rate to reach 8% by the end of last year (ended March 20, 2017).

"If the drop in oil price had not slowed the pace of economic growth in 2014, the economy would have experienced better days and our people could have felt the effects of these efforts much more," Tayyebnia said.

"The alarming 40% inflation rate was brought down to a single digit and 90% of fluctuations in exchange market were controlled, which restored stability and calm to our economy."

https://financialtribune.com/articles/economy-business-and-markets/62470/finex-2017-underscores-iranian-economic-investment

Samson » April 16th, 2017

Iran, Pakistan Sign Agreement on Banking and Payment Arrangement

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An agreement on Banking and Payment Arrangement has been signed by the State Bank of Pakistan and the Central Bank of Iran in Tehran on Friday.

Riaz Riazuddin, deputy governor of SBP, and Gholamali Kamyab, CBI’s deputy for foreign exchange affairs, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective central banks, SBP reported on its website.

According to the statement, the objective of BPA is to provide a settlement mechanism to promote trade between Pakistan and Iran. This mechanism will be used for trade payments conducted via letter of credit and in accordance with international laws and regulations.

It added that in the next step, both the central banks will invite banks in their respective jurisdictions to act as authorized entities for undertaking trade transactions under the BPA. More details of the mechanism will be issued by SBP in due course. State Bank of Pakistan expects this agreement to help strengthen trade links between the two countries.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/economy-business-and-markets/62472/iran-pakistan-sign-agreement-on-banking-and-payment?utm_campaign=you-can-also-read

Samson » April 16th, 2017

Iran's WTO Membership Requires National Consensus

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mohammad Mehdi Behkish by Saeed Jalili

Despite a seemingly firm intention in the government of President Hassan Rouhani to join the World Trade Organization, Iran’s membership process has had little progress since he took office in August 2013.

Many attribute Iran’s 20-year-long waiting period to become a member of the international body to external reasons, mainly the opposition of the United States.

Following the nuclear deal with the world powers reached in July 2015, Iran was hoping for accession but a full membership still seems farfetched.

This is while senior economist Mohammad Mehdi Behkish, a leading free trade advocate and secretary-general of International Chamber of Commerce’s Iranian Committee, says the main reason for the slow progress in Iran’s accession bid should be sought inside the Islamic Republic.

“Imagine if there was no external factor, we would still not be ready to join the WTO,” he told Financial Tribune in an interview on Saturday. “The country is facing a dilemma in terms of liberalizing [the economy].”

Some of the policymakers, Behkish says, have accepted that to increase productivity and exports, the economy should become free and competitive so that industries can acquire new technologies, boost quality and lower prices.

“I am aware that Rouhani’s Cabinet members believe in free trade and a market-based economy, but in practice the country is not moving in that direction,” he said.

“There is no consensus [among influential groups]. It has to do, for the most part, with their economic interests.”

The economist says Iran has not pushed enough to pressure WTO to select a chairman for Iran’s working party.

WTO received Iran’s application for accession on July 19, 1996. It took the organization nine years to accept Iran as an observer member. In 2005, WTO eventually established a working party composed of a group of representatives tasked with assessing Iran’s accession bid. However, the chairman of the party has not yet been elected.

In fact, Iran submitted its memorandum of foreign trade regime a couple of times. But officials have said they need to review the regime and submit it again.

“The first thing they ask for is a foreign trade regime to compare them to WTO regulations and find the contradictions,” he said.

“But the problem with our foreign trade regime is we haven’t yet made up our mind about what we are planning to do, for example, about our tariffs.”

Behkish noted that the trade regime stipulated in Iran’s Resistance Economy “is not compatible” with the regulations of WTO.

Resistance Economy is a set of policies Iran adopted to protect the economy against sanctions amid political standoff with the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Although the sanctions were removed on January as part of the nuclear pact, the policy still remains.

“The Resistance Economy says Iran should not import a commodity, if the country can produce it. But, economically speaking, that commodity should be able to compete in terms of quality and price. Otherwise its production would not be reasonable,” he said.

The economist believes that a shift in the stance of US President Donald Trump will lead to even more cautious approach among Iranian decision-makers.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric mainly focused on prioritizing the United States and its internal affairs, showing little intention to increase military interference in the Middle East or the Korean Peninsula.

After the recent US bombings of Syria and Afghanistan as well as threats issued to North Korea, many experts believe the Trump administration has been shifting its policy from what it suggested during the presidential campaign.

Behkish said concerns over the increased US military presence will make Iran “more introvert”.

“Even economists will be more cautious when advocating trade liberalization … until the international political situation is under control,” he said.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/domestic-economy/62477/irans-wto-membership-requires-national-consensus?utm_campaign=you-can-also-read

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