Domestic Economy

German Traders Make Second Visit to Iran

German Traders Make Second Visit to IranGerman Traders Make Second Visit to Iran

A 100-strong trade delegation from Germany headed by the state of Lower Saxony’s Economy Minister Olaf Lies met with Iranian economic players in Tehran on Saturday in the Iran-Germany Trade Forum.

“The warm welcome I received from Iranian economic players holds out the promise of my visit’s success,” Lies said, adding that Tehran and Lower Saxony ties should not be limited to economic relations.

“What matters most is the understanding between the two nations, so the economic priorities should not take the center stage of our negotiations,” he said.

“Iran is one of the strongest economies in the Middle East, and Germany in turn was one of Iran’s best partners before sanctions. The recent diplomatic efforts of the country have set the stage for our cooperation. There is considerable potential for exports and investment in Iran for the state of Lower Saxony.”   

Lies, who is also a member of board of directors of Europe’s leading automaker Volkswagen, also pointed out the willingness of Lower Saxony-based companies for doing business with Iran, Financial Tribune’s sister newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.

“The representatives of transport, food, renewable energies and health sectors are accompanying me on this trip,” he said.

This state is a pioneer in logistics and new technologies in aviation industry. It has also managed to prove itself as one of the pillars in agriculture by annually earning €10 million in exports, he concluded.

Lower Saxony is Germany’s second-largest federal state in terms of area and its fourth biggest population-wise, with some eight million inhabitants. Its outstanding infrastructure of road and rail links and waterways makes for extremely rapid connections to both domestic and international markets and forms a pivotal transport hub for trans-European goods flow. Its sea ports are a gateway to America, the Far East and rest of the world. Volkswagen has its base in Lower Saxony.

Iran-Germany Trade Forum was jointly hosted by Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture and Iran-Germany Chamber of Commerce.

Deputy head of TCCIMA, Mehdi Jahangiri, called for a boost in trade between the two countries. “I hope the meeting would pave the way for further cooperation between Iran and Germany,” he noted.

The forum also saw TCCIMA warning foreign marketers against entering Iran with the sole intention of selling goods.

“We are willing to see investors in sectors, which would lead to production and synergy. Iran is definitely not a market only for the sale of foreign goods. No country would ever become the one-way exporter of items to Iran,” Jahangiri said.

“Iran and Germany’s relations date back to decades ago. The two have cooperated in economic and political fields. Iran enjoys a strategic status. Educated, talented youths add up to a large number of its population. Rich resources and opportunities in oil, gas, energy, tourism and agriculture sectors are attractive to foreign investors.”

Referring to Iran’s tourism potential, Jahangiri said, Iran is a country of four seasons and more than 1 million tourist attractions. These features, accompanied by the new economic climate following the July 14 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers, are about to put the country at the forefront of world’s investment destinations, he added.

Upon the announcement of the Vienna nuclear deal, representatives of many countries, mostly European, flocked to Iran to seek possible areas for expanding business with Iranians.

The Iranian official referred to “Germany’s edge over other countries for cooperation with Iran” and said, Germany is a powerful European country and its economy enjoys a well-deserved reputation in global services and manufacturing sectors.

He noted that “Germans invested heavily in Iranian sectors of petrochemicals, chemicals, equipment, machinery and electronic services during 2002-6 and the European country was the gateway to the West for many Iranian goods such as saffron, rugs and dried fruit. TCCIMA, as the leading trade chamber in Iran, is ready to join hands with German investors. It has laid the groundwork for clearing the hurdles in the way of investment in Iran by launching the so-called ‘Post-Sanctions Economic Committee’.”

He also referred to TCCIMA’s Investment Consulting Center and said the center would be accountable to foreign and local investors.

A second visit by German delegation bears witness to the determination of this country to further cooperate with Iranian economic players, he concluded.

Also present at the forum, head of Iran-Germany Chamber of Commerce, Abbasali Qasaei, said the members of German delegation put forth the idea of the visit which was welcomed by Iran.

“Most of these delegations are here to scour the Iranian market. Everything else will be pending the removal of sanctions ,” he noted.

Earlier in July,  a high-ranking German business delegation headed by the country’s Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Energy Sigmar Gabriel visited Iran at the invitation of Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. Representatives from major German companies, including Linde, Siemens, Mercedes, BASF, Volkswagen Group and GIZ, were accompanying Gabriel to meet with Iranian officials and business owners to discuss areas of cooperation.  

The delegation also attended a meeting with members of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture. The German vice chancellor also met with President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Zanganeh, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian and Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohamamd Reza Nematzadeh as part of the visit.

Iran and Germany used to be close trade partners but bilateral business dropped as a result of sanctions, declining to €2.4 billion ($2.6 billion) last year from around €8 billion in 2003-4, according to German figures.