Wednesday, November 03, 2004

IranMania News

IranMania News: "Commerce Ministry seeking relaxed tariffs

Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

LONDON, Nov 3 (IranMania) - Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari said on Tuesday that his Ministry is not responsible for 'illegal trade', stressing that the Commerce Ministry is seeking to make import tariffs more logical.

"Smuggling must be dealt with through legal and security mechanisms," he said, adding that the law enforcement forces have been successful in checking smuggling of goods via certain entry points.

He expressed unawareness about whether state organizations are involved in smuggling, stressing that his Ministry is not involved in intelligence affairs, Iran Daily reported.

Shariatmadari further said that there is no free trade zone without a branch of the Customs Administration in Iran.

"Despite the presence of customs offices, there are no restrictions on import of goods into free trade zones but customs regulations applicable for the mainland may discourage investments," he said, adding that the mainland's trade rules do not apply to FTZs.

A senior Iran's Customs Administration official said earlier that the huge difference between the prices of goods in Iran and in other parts of the world has made smuggling a lucrative business.

Deputy head of Iran's Customs Administration, Mahmoud Beheshtian, told Fars news agency that smuggling of goods to and from Iran is so profitable that smugglers continue their illegal business despite the heavy penalties.

He further said that the same problem is to blame for the upsurge in the illegal trade in gasoline, bread, flour and medicine as well as of shoes and garments.

The official noted that poverty and unemployment in border areas also play a major role in the rise in smuggling of goods to and from the country, adding that many people in border areas earn their livelihood in this way."

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