Domestic Economy

3 Spanish Ministers Will Explore Trade Renewal

3 Spanish Ministers Will  Explore Trade Renewal3 Spanish Ministers Will  Explore Trade Renewal

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Industry, Energy and Tourism Minister Jose Manuel Soria and Development Minister Ana Pastor will lead a 70-member business and trade delegation to Tehran on Sunday.

Managers and representatives from major Spanish companies will visit to confer over ways to enhance mutual cooperation in the energy, tourism and infrastructure sectors, IRNA reported.

Representatives from Repsol, Spain’s largest oil company, are scheduled to hold talks with the National Iranian Oil Company during the 3-day tour.

Repsol and Royal Dutch Shell signed a preliminary agreement with Iran in 2007 to develop phases 13 and 14 of the giant South Pars gas project in Iran. However, both companies withdrew from the contract in 2010 under pressures by the West to tighten economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear energy program.

The energy sector has historically been a key area of cooperation between Iran and Spain. Spain was a major buyer of Iran's oil before the tightening of sanctions in 2012. At one point, they accounted for 50% of Spain’s oil purchases.

Spain’s CEPSA imported about 70,000 barrels per day of oil from Iran, with Repsol taking 30,000 bpd before replacing it with Saudi Arabian crude.

In 2012, Spain stopped importing oil from Iran. Spain's Ambassador to Tehran, Pedro Antonio Villena said earlier that his country is ready to resume oil imports after the sanctions are lifted.

Industrial machinery has been another major area of cooperation for Iran and Spain. Before the sanctions, Spanish companies supplied industrial machines for tile, textile, food and chemical industries in Iran. The two countries also cooperated in automotive parts and pharmaceuticals.

Trade between the two countries stood at $321 million last Iranian year which ended in March 2015, down from $5.24 billion in 2011. Iran’s energy exports make up the bulk of the transactions.  

According to data provided by Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Iran exported $175 million worth of commodities to Spain and imported $146 million from the country last year.

Also, the two countries recorded $142 million non-oil trade during the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 21-July 22).

Iran exported about $89 million worth of commodities including iron, saffron, grape and carpet to Spain and imported nearly $53 million including carbon electrodes, cranes, printing ink and graph paper from the country during the period.

The recent conclusion of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, France, Russia, China, the UK and Germany) has triggered a race among the Europeans for new business opportunities in Iran. Ministers from Germany, France, Italy and UK have recently traveled to Tehran with executives of major companies and more visits are on the cards.