Domestic Economy

Czech, Slovak Delegations 1st Post-Sanctions Visitors

Czech, Slovak Delegations  1st Post-Sanctions VisitorsCzech, Slovak Delegations  1st Post-Sanctions Visitors

Two trade delegations from Central Europe have been the first to visit Iran since the UN nuclear watchdog proclaimed that Iran has complied with the July 14 nuclear deal it brokered with world powers.

The announcement officially marked the end of more than a decade of sanctions imposed by the West on Iran over its nuclear energy program.

Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mladek led a delegation of 58 businesspeople to Iran hours after the lifting of the international sanctions against Iran on Jan. 16.

In a meeting with representatives of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, the European minister said the removal of  sanctions would pave the way for direct trade between the Czech Republic and Iran, IRNA reported.

"Decreased economic exchanges in recent years are partly to blame on indirect trade, which is mostly carried out through Azerbaijan Republic and the UAE,” he said.

Masoud Khansari, the TCCIMA head, referred to the meager annual bilateral trade, which was between $20 million and $30 million, and said the potential of two countries is far more than that.

"The Czech Republic is advanced in the sectors of infrastructure, clean energies, water, pharmaceuticals and machinery, and the two sides can initiate joint investments in these fields," he said.

Khansari conditioned any kind of economic interaction on long-term joint investment and stressed that following the removal of sanctions, "Iran won’t be a market for selling other countries’ consumer goods".

The TCCIMA chief and president of Czech Republic's Confederation of Industry and Transport, Jaroslav Hanak, signed a memorandum of understanding on importing 250 tractors from the Czech Republic.

"Privately-owned industries are the backbone of Czech economy," the European minister said in a separate meeting with Iran’s Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, adding that Prague and Tehran can cooperate in the manufacture of automobile and machinery as well as rail transportation.

"Iran pursues long-term joint investments in the new economic climate after the implementation of the nuclear deal," Nematzadeh said, adding that electronics, automotive, machinery and equipment manufacturing industries are potential areas of cooperation.

"Iran is planning to renovate and develop its steel, copper and aluminum industries, and foreign partners can participate in these areas," he said.

In a meeting with Mladik on Monday, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh discussed grounds for cooperation in manufacturing oil equipment as well as crude and gas trade with the Czech minister.

"The Czech Republic is a powerful industrial country that can help us manufacture 10 essential pieces of equipment," Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

He ruled out gas export to Prague through a pipeline, but said Iran is ready for long-term supply of liquefied natural gas to the Central European nation "if they show interest".

Zanganeh said Czech companies are also interested in building underground gas storage facilities and undertaking petrochemical projects, adding that "they can cooperate as investors, not contractors".

Mladek also met with Iran's Minister of Economy Ali Tayyebnia and First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri on Monday.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, the European country’s economy grew by 4.7% in Q3 year-on-year, against a 4.5% expansion in the previous estimate of the end of November, and its growth reached 0.7% quarter-on-quarter, compared with 0.5% predicted for November end.   


> Slovak Delegation in Mashhad

Slovakia is keen to improve its economic, social and cultural relations with Iran, said the European country’s visiting Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Peter Kazimir on Monday at a joint forum attended by Slovak and Iranian economic traders in Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan Razavi Province.

According to the Slovak official, his two-day Iran visit aims to bolster economic ties in the sectors of transportation, clean energies and automotive industries.

"Iran’s considerable potential in foreign trade is one of the strengths of the country and Slovakia is determined to raise bilateral commercial trade from the current €14 million to €50 million in the next couple of years," Kazimir said.

“Bratislava is willing to cooperate with Khorasan Razavi in the automotive industry, as the Iranian province plays an instrumental role in the Iranian automotive industry.”

Noting that Slovakia is totally dependent on foreign resources, Russia in particular, to meet its energy needs, Kazimir said Iran can become a major oil and gas exporter to the European country.

Kazimir and his accompanying 40-member trade delegation are scheduled to meet with Iran’s economy and oil ministers during the second leg of their two-day Iran visit in Tehran.