Domestic Economy

Dutch Moment to Make Up for Past

Dutch Moment  to Make Up for Past
Dutch Moment  to Make Up for Past

A 14-member delegation from the Netherlands led by Jan Simoness, head of the country’s Trade Development Council, is the latest European mission to arrive in Tehran to explore grounds for cooperation.

“Dutch companies are more than willing to invest in Iran,” said Simoness in a meeting hosted by Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on Sunday.

The Dutch official highlighted the advantages of Iranian market, including the country’s proximity to key regional countries, including Russia, the high potential of its workforce and low production costs there.

“Iran can be a gateway to many countries, including Russia, while possessing high potential in creating links with regional countries. The Netherlands can help improve the infrastructure required by the country. Iran’s workforce potential and talents are really high, but the country seems to have failed to fully tap such resources,” he said.

“We are also eager to cooperate in higher education field. Costs of production in Iran are by far lower than that of western European countries; this would be an attractive factor for the investors. Food, agriculture and greenhouse industries are my country’s strong suit.”

Simoness noted that multinational companies are active in the Netherlands in petrochemical and oil sectors.

As the world’s second largest exporter, the Netherland is pursuing ties with Iran in solar and other renewable energies, water and wastewater management, expansion of ports, improvement of transport and agricultural processing, but all these plans will remain on hold until the complete removal of sanctions.

Referring to Dutch fact-finding groups’ trips to Iran since a year ago to weigh Iran’s market, Simoness said, “We are trying to take major strides toward removing barriers in the way of trade between the two countries.”

He also described Iran as a market with great untapped potential and said the country can import goods from Europe and then export to other countries such as Russia after creating added value.  

“Iran’s geographical location, its advancement on technical and engineering fronts and the economy, which is weaning itself away from oil, are reasons behind Europeans’ enthusiasm for investment in this country,” said the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Mohsen Jalalpour.

Jalalpour said Tehran-Amsterdam relations could have been much better and remained unaffected in the face of anti-Iran sanctions. He, however, noted that the Netherlands was one of the most uncompromising countries in the European Union in levying unfair pressure on Iran.

“As we speak, the Netherlands and other European countries are busy putting together the sanctions removal document. Therefore, it is important for Amsterdam to seize the opportunity and make up for its past. The Netherlands needs to be the frontrunner in the removal of sanctions and initiate a joint venture with Iran,” he said.

The ICCIMA chief stressed that countries, which impose unilateral economic sanctions on other states, deprive their own nations of business opportunities.

“Small and large enterprises, transport, rail, airport and road industries in Iran have great potential. The Dutch can also invest in food, agriculture and knowledge-based companies,” he said.

Jalalpour also called for the formation of companies to produce joint brands.

The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on easing interaction between their private companies and exchange of economic information.

The last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2015) saw trade between the two countries stand at $1.12 billion. Iran’s imports from and exports to the European country constituted $1.51 billion and $69 million respectively.

Earlier in September, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders paid a two-day visit to Iran and met with President Hassan Rouhani.

“Certainly, among the Netherlands’ priorities is to help implement the nuclear agreement and make efforts to ensure that it results in greater interaction and cooperation among Iran, the Netherlands and the European Union,” Bert Koenders said. “We have decided to invest in various domains in Iran.”

The top Dutch diplomat said the accord is expected to open new vistas for restoration of Tehran’s relations in various areas with the West, particularly with the Netherlands.

The Netherlands will be holding the rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016. In that role, Amsterdam could play an “effective guiding” role in Tehran-EU post-sanctions ties, according to President Rouhani.

Tehran has hosted top trade delegations from Germany, Poland, Spain, France and Austria in the past few weeks, in preparation for multibillion-dollar agreements in economic and energy sectors in the post-sanctions era.