Iran to sign KL trade deal

Isfahan. The end of UN sanctions could help unlock Iran’s architectural gems. Source: Flickr

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has arrived in Malaysia on the second leg of his Asean trip in which he aims to boost trade relations following the lifting of UN sanctions.

Rouhani’s two-day visit is his first to Malaysia since taking office in 2013 and is due to include the signing of an extradition treaty between the two countries in the administrative capital Putrajaya.

During a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Rouhani said: “We stressed that 2016 should be the year of expanding relations in political, cultural, scientific and economic areas.”

He said called for investment and economic integration.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that Rouhani’s visit allowed both countries to explore ways to further expand economic ties.

“The key to this objective is to enable business transactions to take place within the banking system of our two countries,” Najib told the media. “As you know, sanctions had restricted ways of doing business there. But we want this [deal] to happen, and I am confident it will be found in the shortest time.”

“Both sides are expected to take stock, as well as expand the scope and substance of bilateral relations in various fields such as trade, investment, oil, energy, education, capacity building and tourism,” the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said.

Malaysian firms have refocused attention on Iran, with greater interest in exporting goods and services now sanctions have been removed.

In January, most sanctions were lifted against Iran after the UN reported it had complied with a multinational nuclear weapons deal.

Iran has an estimated market worth of US$406 billion and is an important trading partner for Malaysia for several West Asian states.

Trade between the two stood at 1.03 billion ringgit (US$247 million) between January and June 2016, an increase of 11.7 per cent year on year.

Malaysia’s major exports to Iran last year were palm oil, chemical goods and rubber. Agricultural products, petroleum goods and crude fertilisers and minerals go in the opposite direction.