Domestic Economy

Italy Seeking Pre-Sanctions Stature

Italy Seeking  Pre-Sanctions Stature
Italy Seeking  Pre-Sanctions Stature

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Italian Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday leading a high-ranking trade delegation from the European country.

The two ministers are scheduled to hold meetings with senior officials including Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh as part of their two-day trip, IRNA reported.

The business delegation, which includes economic leaders and representatives from Italian firms, will attend a meeting today with officials and traders at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines and Agriculture to discuss possible ways for expanding cooperation in various economic sectors, ICCIMA’s vice chairman, Ali-Akbar Farazi announced.      

Representatives and senior managers from the state-run credit insurance company SACE – the Italian Exhibition and Trade Fair Association, the General Confederation of Italian Industry as well as companies active in power generation, highway construction, banking, car manufacturing, medicine, water, energy, oil, gas, and petro-chemistry are also part of the Italian delegation.

The visit comes as part of a new wave of renewed international interest in ties with Iran after Tehran and the P5+1 group (namely Russia, China, the US, the UK, France plus Germany) reached a landmark agreement on July 14.

The accord will put an end to economic sanctions imposed against Iran by the US, the EU and the UN Security Council in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear capability.

Experts believe that Iran’s economic growth will rise remarkably after the nuclear deal takes effect.

  Recouping Losses

“Italy will definitely try to regain its pre-sanctions position in the Iranian economy as it enjoys close economic and cultural relations with Iran,” Gentiloni said in an interview with IRNA prior to his visit on Tuesday.

He noted that economic ties between Italy and Iran were severely affected by the sanctions, expressing hope that “the Vienna agreement would help recoup part of the losses.”

Economy Minister Federica Guidi also expressed confidence in an interview before flying to Tehran that the visit would “help revive Italy’s old ties with Iran.”

Italy had strong economic and trade relations with Iran and was Iran’s top trading partner in the European Union before the sanctions were imposed. But trade between the two countries dropped from €7 billion in 2011 to only slightly above €1 billion, according to Guidi, who noted that Italy is hoping to resume economic activities in Iran with the prospect of sanctions being lifted from 2016.

Referring to Italy’s priorities in resuming economic relations with Iran, she said: “The areas we are currently interested in and already discussed in a meeting with Iranian Industry Minister Mohammadreza Nematzadeh on the sidelines of Milan Expo 2015 On May 1, are related with Iran’s oil and gas, automotive, transportation, infrastructure, construction as well as textile and furniture.”

Meanwhile, the visit by the Italian delegation has given rise to concerns voiced by some Iranian experts that resuming economic relations with foreign countries after the lifting of sanctions could affect domestic industries.

Nematzadeh addressed these concerns in a meeting with members of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on Monday, reassuring them that the government has clear strategies in its negotiations with foreign countries in the post-sanctions era.

“If any country wishes to have a share in the Iranian markets, then we too must have a share in their economy. We must seek joint investments with foreign companies to boost exports,” said the minister.