Domestic Economy

Germans Start Meetings Over Post-Sanctions Ventures

Germans Start Meetings  Over Post-Sanctions VenturesGermans Start Meetings  Over Post-Sanctions Ventures

The high-ranking German business delegation that arrived in Tehran on Sunday headed by Germany's Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Energy Sigmar Gabriel, attended a meeting with members of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on Monday to discuss ways to expand bilateral ties.

The 60-member team is comprised of representatives from 10 major German companies including Linde, Siemens, Mercedes, BASF, Volkswagen Group and GIZ as well as a number of smaller industries, IRNA reported.

In a meeting with Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, Gabriel said Germany is seeking to expand cooperation with Iran in areas of petrochemicals, vehicles, new energies, environment and energy efficiency after the removal of western sanctions.

"German firms are not just looking to increase their exports to Iran, but are also seeking to develop sustainable, long-term business relations," he noted.

Speaking on the sidelines of Monday's meeting, Zanganeh said the Germans also want to resolve issues related with insurance and banking to facilitate the expansion of economic relations after the lifting of sanctions.

The two sides have agreed to organize the fifth Iran-Germany Joint Economic Commission in September, 14 years after the last commission was held.

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian also noted that the two sides have agreed to cooperate in expansion of power plants and transfer of technology for efficient use of water resources either through direct investments by German companies or through joint ventures.

The German group is the first high-ranking western delegation to visit Iran after the country struck a nuclear deal last week with the P5+1 group—namely Germany, France, China, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom— in Vienna. As part of the deal, sanctions that have been imposed against Iran over its nuclear energy program will be lifted.

Gabriel is due to meet with President Hassan Rouhani, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Ali Tayyebnia, Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammadreza Nematzadeh, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the Governor of Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif during his three-day trip.

> German Exports to Increase

Head of Iran-Germany Joint Chamber of Commerce, Daniel Benrbeck said Germany is ready to cooperate with Iran in areas of oil, gas, petrochemicals, renewable energies, medical equipment, industrial equipment and auto industry.

"Germany is ready to provide Iranian industries with material and equipment worth €5 billion as soon as the sanctions are lifted," he said.

He referred to restrictions on banking transactions as a major barrier to expansion of business, recalling that Iranian banks were disconnected from the international SWIFT system due to sanctions.

President of the Association of German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) Eric Schweitzer, who is accompanying the German delegation, said Iran is one of the major non-European economic partners of Germany, reiterating that the nuclear agreement could open a new chapter in cooperation between the two countries.

Iran and Germany used to be close trade partners but business dropped off as a result of sanctions, declining to €2.4 billion ($2.6 billion) last year from around €8 billion in 2003-2004, according to German figures.

DIHK officials had earlier forecasted that German exports to Iran could quadruple in the next two to three years to around €10 billion as giant German companies like Volkswagen and Siemens as well as thousands of smaller family-owned firms are eager to revive ties with Iranian businesses.