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IPF Exclusive, July 2013

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What Iran Gains from Globalization

Globalization for Iran is more of an opportunity than a threat, provided that suitable mechanisms for taking advantage of new opportunities are rapidly formulated.

Advancement of global information networks has brought more transparency to behaviors of different nations and the world's public opinion has been offered an opportunity for unmediated and more widespread interaction

Development of information technology has done away with geographical, political and cultural borders and has created different conditions for governments to enforce their national sovereignty and protect their land and people against foreign invasion.

In view of the fact that new conditions are not optional, but obligatory and due to the fact that scientific and technological developments during recent years have brought all countries to a new situation, closing one's eyes to existing realities and opposing change by mentioning its shortcomings and intimidations will not help developing countries to slow or change the current trend. New conditions have posed developing countries with opportunities that were not thought of in the past. The Islamic Republic of Iran should take more steps to know new global conditions and move to exploit those conditions in a better way and avail of its advantages while reducing resultant threats.

Although developed countries have benefited from new conditions more than less developed states and the distance between rich and poor countries has increased, the said conditions have paved the way for, at least, some developing countries to boost their international standing through correct planning and even rank among countries that influence global economic and political issues. Globalization for Iran is more of an opportunity than a threat, provided that suitable mechanisms for taking advantage of new opportunities are rapidly formulated. Among advantages of globalization, one can refer to the fact that this phenomenon has made access to valuable and previously expensive sources of information very easy and less expensive.

New conditions created as a result of globalization process also include:

  • Globalization has greatly facilitated access to international technologies, standards, market conditions, as well as global prices, tastes and share of every producer from market, which were very costly and time-consuming in the past.

  • It has reduced or eliminated bureaucracy in transferring people, samples, information as well as financial payments and sanctions.

  • Transmission of information and negotiation for taking part in international exhibitions as well as marketing of goods has become much easier.

  • All products could be displayed to the world by setting up a website. Doing this even on a small scale was very costly and in some instances impossible for the Iranian businessmen in the past.

  • Computer software transfer hundreds of years or millions of person-hours of work as a single package.

An Iranian software engineer can cover the wide distance between his/her country and advanced countries by learning how to work with new software and do his/her job according to international standards. These are but examples of facilities provided for developing countries as a result of globalization, which if taken advantage of in a correct manner, can lead to a great leap in the economic development process of our country. Among practical consequences of globalization, one can refer to the establishment of new international norms. Staying away from new international norms cannot be sustained and will drive us to a weaker situation so that the more the delay, the less will be our influence because active participation in formation of such currents will increase the bargaining power of our country.

Globalization and Global Trade: Advancement of global information networks has brought more transparency to behaviors of different nations and the world's public opinion has been offered an opportunity for unmediated and more widespread interaction. As a result, the way has been cleared for achieving a consensus on controversial concepts as well as values. One of those concepts is the idea of free trade and trade liberalization which has almost become a global obligatory norm as a result of the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is for the first time that trade differences are settled through an international judicial mechanism or a global judge. A large number of verdicts issued by the dispute settlement organ of the WTO pertained to realization of the rights of developing countries and adapting them to their rights and expediencies. The WTO, as the world's biggest international trade entity interferes in all aspects of traditional trade and even issues not related to commodities including services, investments and domestic regulations related to trade, and a condition for membership in WTO is discarding a large part of traditional attitudes with regard to national sovereignty and adapting them to accepted international norms. Joining the world body requires major adjustments as well as structural changes. On the other hand, staying away from it would mean detachment from a predominant trade system that has so far assimilated many countries and a large number of other countries have also applied for its membership. Delayed action on the part of Iran for WTO membership has caused the country to suffer many losses. In addition, Iran's membership has become conditional on United States' approval (which has become a pressure lever in the hands of the U.S. government). Iran's absence in the process of drawing up related regulations has deprived the country from many opportunities. Joining the WTO in the early years was followed by offering many advantages to developing countries of which our country was deprived.

Globalization and Investment: A major goal pursued by Western countries is consensus on an international investment regime to enforce a uniform investment procedure at international level as an investment norm or even charter. A principle currently followed is the principle of national behavior according to which the government accepting an investment should apply the same laws and regulations, which are enforced for its own nationals to foreign investors without any kind of discrimination. The issue has been currently shelved due to efforts made by developing countries, but Iran has to be active in drawing up related regulations to defend the rights of developing countries.

Globalization and Communications: Communication is among important support services needed by many economic sectors for rapid growth and reconstruction. During recent years, due to excessive growth of information technology and its enormous influence on other economic sectors, communication has become more important. Our country can enjoy comparative advantages in terms of communications  information, technology and related services provided that communication infrastructures in contact with other countries and domestic localities are qualitatively excellent. Although we have progressed in this field during recent years, we have a long way to go before attaining our desired goals.

Globalization and Internet: Valuable facilities provided to users by this modern phenomenon have greatly reduced possible harms from it. It is not good for us to limit access to this useful tool on the pretext of possible misuses just in the same way that we do not restrict learning foreign languages because they can be used improperly. The main asset for engaging in communication and telecommunication activities is nothing but the "human mind." Our youth enjoy enormous amounts of that asset. Therefore, we must provide needed infrastructures for activation of this human asset so that they could use it at global markets according to their requirements. Unfortunately, a number of governmental executives are in charge of doing this some of whom look upon giving affairs over to people through a tunnel vision. The result of the government's dominance in this field is backwardness of the country in terms of building needed infrastructures, imposing billions of dollars in unnecessary cost on people, providing inefficient communication services to people and, most importantly, barring many Iranian youth from getting engaged in trade and software activities and giving the market over to rivals with much smaller capital.

Globalization and Satellite: This phenomenon has opened a window to our homes through which we can directly get opinions and viewpoints and relay it to other people without any barriers. Satellite will benefit many countries which cannot get their hands on similar facilities through old ways. Obviously, the winner of this contest should enjoy a powerful logic and more attractive means of presentation. Of course, people should be forewarned about untoward consequences while taking advantage of its technical facilities. Depriving people from such useful facilities will be logically incorrect and practically impossible.

What must be done:

  • Policies related to communication sector should be drawn up and approved by the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament) to pave the way for more investment in the field;

  • The government's motto in this field could be "Accessible communication for all";

  • Phone lines should be given to people in cities and villages on a daily basis so as to make providing global services possible at desirable quality and affordable price;

  • Iran should turn into a producer and exporter of communication equipment;

  • People should be allowed to invest in communication. If we calculated losses imposed on people due to high price of cellphone and low quality of related services, the result would be appalling. People should be allowed to invest in such fields as switching equipment, fiberoptic cables, underground cables; as well as all kinds of telecommunication production and installation of necessary equipment;

  • Government's role in the field of Internet should be limited to making large-scale policies and supervision as is the case with other technical and economic affairs. Therefore, as a first step, the government should allow people to be active in all executive fields related to the Internet and reduce its control;

  • The government should pave the way for better use of this modern tool through accurate planning to promote the country's international standing while facilitating people's access to the Internet. Access of students to the Internet will greatly influence scientific progress of the country. Therefore, all educational centers should be using this new technology as soon as possible;

  • Due to enormous influence of electronic government on increasing efficiency, transparency and responsiveness and reducing costs; suitable plans should be formulated for more rapid realization of an e-government.

  • Developing countries lag behind developed states in many scientific, technical and service fields to various degrees. Utilization of computer and computerized software has helped those countries fill the gap more effectively. The more our youth master computer and applied software, the existing gap would be filled in a better way;

  • Electronic trade and software transactions through the Internet are among modern ways of scientific and economic cooperation that were not available to most countries in the past. Given high intelligence of the Iranian youth and their scientific capabilities, necessary facilities for expansion of such transactions should be provided while creating more jobs for young people, especially for university graduates.


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  July 2013
No. 68