Domestic Economy

Expansion of Economic Ties High on the Agenda

Expansion of Economic Ties High on the AgendaExpansion of Economic Ties High on the Agenda

Austrian President Heinz Fischer, heading a 200-member delegation, will arrive in Tehran on Monday at the official invitation of President Hassan Rouhani to discuss ways to improve Tehran-Vienna relations.

Fischer will be the first European president to visit Iran after the conclusion of the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers. His trip comes 11 years after former Austrian president Thomas Klestil traveled to Tehran.

The Austrian president will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz, Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner, heads of the chamber of commerce and a number of economic, scholarly, cultural and media representatives, the press office of Iranian Embassy in Vienna announced.

He plans to hold talks with his Iranian counterpart President Rouhani, Chairman of Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Officials from both countries are also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings.

 8th Joint Economic Commission

Iran and Austria also plan to hold their eighth joint economic commission during the Austrian delegation’s visit.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham announced last week that the two countries will use the occasion to explore opportunities for investment and economic cooperation, adding that the two countries are expected to sign memoranda of understanding in various fields.

In a June visit to Iran, Vice Chairman of Austria’s Chamber of Commerce Richard Schenz had expressed Vienna’s willingness to expand cooperation with Tehran in the areas of railroad transportation, steel, modern irrigation systems, pharmaceuticals, recycling and wastewater treatment.

Commercial relations between Iran and Austria have traditionally been robust. Trade between the two countries stood at about $400 million last Iranian year (ended March 20), which is considerably low compared to pre-sanctions era.

Data provided by the Statistical Center of Iran show a huge surplus in favor of Austria, with more than $300 million pertaining to Austria’s exports to Iran over the period. Pharmaceuticals account for nearly half of Austria’s exports to Iran.

Austria hosted marathon talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) this year on the country’s nuclear program, which led to the landmark deal of July 14.

Later in July, Vienna hosted the “Iran-EU Conference on Trade and Investment” which brought together officials from Iran, Austria, France, the UK, Germany and other countries as well as traders and entrepreneurs to discuss post-sanctions opportunities in Iran.

The Austrian officials’ visit comes high on the heels of recent visits by top officials from European countries, including Germany, France, Italy and the UK, in the wake of the nuclear deal.

Spanish Cabinet members, including Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Industry, Energy and Tourism Minister Jose Manuel Soria and Development Minister Ana Pastor, are due in Tehran on Sunday, while a high-ranking delegation from Poland is also expected to arrive soon.