Document Type : Original Article
- Assistant Professor of Political Geography, University of Maragheh, Maragheh, Iran
Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone, known as one of the six vital gateways for Iran's domestic economy to link with global economy, is an output action of various systems in the various spatial scales. In other words, this trade and industrial unit as an economic and spatial structure has commanded by systems which organize it, intrinsically and extrinsically, and seems that the construction of Aras Free Trade Zone extrinsically is the output of specific interactions with the surrounding regions, especially the South Caucasus. Therefore, for this free trade and industrial zone the South Caucasus is one of the most important areas of influence and operation in the transit and trade relations. In particular, this free trade and industrial zone has very high potentials for strengthening cooperation with this region, because of its specific location in the vicinity of the South Caucasus.
The research methodology adopted here is descriptive- analytic. Data gathering procedure is based on library findings and official data. Data analysis will be done using qualitative and quantitative analysis methods, and conclusion will be done using the two methods.
Results and discussion
The geo-economic importance of the South Caucasus in economic development of Aras Free Zone refers to the strategic location of this region as a communicational axis. This position has a special strategic potential to link together Aras Free Zone and peripheral cultural- economic dynamics. Another issue related to the geo-economical importance of the South Caucasus in order to economic development of Aras Free Zone refers to geo-economic position of South Caucasus.
South Caucasus, despite experiencing a period of economic instability after independence, because of quite specific geographical-political situation especially ethnic-territorial conflicts, has great economic potentials especially in the energy sector (Azerbaijan), energy transfer and dependence on energy resources, rich agricultural potential, rich potential for deepening tourism relations, industrial facilities (although old but restored) including petrochemical, chemical, machine building, The gradual eliminating the state-based economy, strengthening the economic activity of the private sector, joining to the free market economy, participating in international agreements of energy, becoming as the new center of foreign investment, economic recovery in the context of the international financial supports and support of European states, international competition in economy - trade market of the South Caucasus, South Caucasus’s new economic prestige in the financial markets, particularly the international energy markets, the clear economic outlook for the South Caucasus in case of withdrawal of geographic-economic isolation by deepening domestic and international economic integrations with the peripheral and abroad, neighboring spaces role as the most important communicational channel of the world economy with this region and geo-economic complementary in the trade ties are the advantages of this region which can easily be used in order to economic development of Aras trade-industrial zone.
The research scope was to explain the geo-economic importance of the South Caucasus in promotion of economic development of Aras free Zone. Creation of Aras free Zone as a commercial and industrial structure is formed and developed significantly in the mutual interaction with the surrounding spaces, features, capabilities and spatial - economic potentials of the surrounding spaces and even the special nature of spatial interactions in surrounding spaces. So, the South Caucasus is the most strategic space around Aras Free Zone that its importance can be explained in the construction and economic development of Aras free Zone, clearly.
Therefore, according to the results of this research, strengthening these collaborations can be considered as a good opportunity to improve the economy of Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone, because of the following advantages: strategic location of the South Caucasus to link to the international trade markets, the opportunity of use of good potentials of the dynamic emerging economies of the South Caucasus.