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Iran International Magazine - Dr. Khosrow Sobhe
Iran International Magazine - On Agenda: "January 2003 / No. 21

The Chamber Needs to Do Its Job

"The alleviation of many export and production inadequacies in the past years has
been due to the direct and indirect efforts of ICCIM."

Dr. Khosrow Sobhe, member of the board of directors of Iran’s Chamber of
Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM) believes that narrow-mindedness,
suspicion and lack of trust of the private sector in Iran are the main reasons why its
potentials have not so far been taken seriously and why the chamber is losing sight
of its central role.

He added that ICCIM’s role in the expansion of foreign trade carries special weight
and with slight alterations in its structure, the guidance of the private sector may
come within the hands of this institution. The fact that the country's economy is in
the hands of the government, the flaws and the need for awareness within the
private sector, ambiguity of regulations, the out-dated system in use in the
production sector plus unsteady and inconvenient political relations with other
countries are among the problems facing our non-oil exports.

There has been a rise in the rate of imports as compared to that of exports. The
high rate of consumption within the country has made imports of necessary goods
more profitable than exports and competition in world markets. There was so much
profit involved in imports that until a short time ago when there existed the multiple
exchange rates, a specific group using various fronts would receive currency at very
low rates and imported goods which were then sold at high black market rates in the
country.

The alleviation of many export and production inadequacies in the past years has
been due to the direct and indirect efforts of ICCIM, which is an advisory body that
presents its points of view to the country’s three main government branches at
regular intervals.

The electoral system within the organization is presently suffering and the lack of
voters in the sessions held is due to various reasons, including cultural problems
suffered by most Iranians who are basically unwilling to get for involved in group
activities.

The disregard by some members of the results of the votes and the persons chosen
and their unawareness of the times of elections stem from weak communication or
overload of outside duties. This has naturally led to the reduction in the number of
voters in chamber elections. The chamber’s budget is obtained from membership
fees and the taxes obtained from members. ICCIM normally has trouble in collecting
the mentioned taxes. Each year’s budget is usually approved by the representatives
of the chamber, which means it is approved by the principal governing body of the
institution.

The main services rendered to the members of ICCIM and clients include the
introduction of the members and cardholders to various embassies for visas, making
of travel preparations, organizing of commercial exhibitions and formation of joint
chambers of commerce with other countries, presentation of statistics and
information and bringing together foreign and Iranian businessmen and women."