Despite its increasing attempts to open its economy to the outside world, Iran is enjoying only modest success in attracting foreign investment to its oil-reliant economy. Speaking to the Aftab-e-Yazd daily, Merhdad Motamedi, a representative of the country’s chamber of commerce, revealed that Iran ranks 154 out of 160 countries in attracting foreign investment.
According to Motamedi, Iran received less than one-tenth of 1 percent of worldwide foreign investment, and most of what it received was oil related.
To make matters worse, he continued, the country was suffering the ravages of capital flight, with at least $200 billion of Iranian money invested elsewhere, and some 3,000 Iranian companies registered in the United Arab Emirates. In the last three years, Motamedi said, Iranians had invested some $13 billion in Turkey.
For years, Iran has striven to reduce its dependency on oil, but only recently has it sought to engender itself to the foreign investment community. A bill was recently introduced in the Iranian parliament, the aim of which was to calm the nerves to potential investors, who still remember the across-the-board nationalization in the period following the overthrow of the Shah. The bill protects investors against seizure, and allows them to repatriate capital in hard cash.
Earlier this year, Iran passed the first reading of laws to protect would-be foreign investment in its free trade zones. But they are still held up in committee and they still needs to receive a second reading. – (Albawaba-MEBG)