Domestic Economy

Czechoslovakia Reconvened!

Czechoslovakia Reconvened!Czechoslovakia Reconvened!

Manufacturers of Czech Republic can offer German quality products to Iranians at more reasonable prices.

This was announced by Czech Republic’s Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mladek, before he headed the 58-strong business delegation to Iran to pave the way for the Central European country’s companies to take advantage of pent-up demand in Iran, IRNA reported.

Two similar Czech missions visited Iran last year.

Mladek also told the official broadcasting station of the Czech Republic, Radio Prague, how the government-level cooperation is set to play out.

“At the ministerial level, there will be a mixed commission and also a subcommittee. It will deal with energy, as there is an interest in power plants of all types, and in transport, due to the interest in the modernization of the railroad. Furthermore, it will be possible to discuss a whole range of technical questions on an official basis so that companies can win public tenders.”

In fact, the delegation from the Czech Republic and the one from Slovakia were the first foreign missions to visit Iran after the removal of western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.

Interestingly, the concurrent visits were made by two neighboring countries once collectively known as Czechoslovakia before it was divided into Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

  Wide-Ranging Cooperation

In Tehran, Mladek met with Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi in Tehran on Tuesday to discuss further cooperation in the transportation sector.

Akhoundi pointed to the strategic location of Iran in the region and said the country plays an essential role in expanding and connecting the East-West and North-South transport corridors to Europe and East Asia, and is looking forward to cooperate with Czech investors and firms to develop Iran’s transportation infrastructure.

Mladek said Czech firms are ready to form a joint transportation consortium with their Iranian counterparts with a 49% and 51% share respectively, for that matter.

The Czech delegation also met with the head of Tabriz Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mining and Agriculture, Samad Hassanzadeh, in East Azarbaijan Province.

The provincial Iranian official pointed to the 10-20-year tax exemptions offered to foreign firms investing in Tabriz and said the two sides can cooperate in the fields of auto manufacture, glass, crystal, copper and aluminum production and electronic industries.

Several memorandums of understanding were signed in East Azarbaijan Province, in addition to a contract for Brno-based tractor manufacturer Zetor to deliver 250 tractors to Iran.

Mladek also met with Iran’s Minister of Economy Ali Tayyebnia, First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh and the head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mining and Agriculture, Masoud Khansari, on Monday.

According to Jan Kavan, chairman of the Czech-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, the current annual bilateral trade of around $35 million is significantly low considering Tehran-Prague’s 90 years of economic exchanges.

“We seek to raise this figure tenfold,” he said.

The Czech Statistical Office data show 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.

  Slovaks Sign Contracts Worth €100m

The other delegation was headed by Slovak Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Peter Kazimir.

Contracts worth €100 million in total were negotiated during the official visit from January 17 to 20.

“We signed international agreements on the mutual protection of investments and prevention of double taxation,” said Kazimir upon his return from Iran, as quoted by the Slovak news agency TASR.

While in Iran, Kazimir said Slovakia is determined to raise bilateral commercial trade from the current €14 million to €50 million in the next couple of years.

On Tuesday, he met with Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayyebnia and the two sides signed several agreements, including one to avoid double taxation and another to establish a working group to promote investment in the two countries.

They also discussed cooperation in energy and automobile manufacturing.

Kazimir also held a meeting with Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif where the two sides discussed ways of broadening banking ties in the post-sanctions era by, for instance, establishing a joint account between Iran and Slovakia’s central banks. Seif also suggested that Slovaks can buy up to 40% of Iranian banks’ shares.

On Monday, Slovak and Iranian economic traders held a joint forum in Mashahad–the capital city of the northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province–to promote economic, social and cultural relations.

More than 200 provincial companies as well as 39 entrepreneurial entities from Slovakia from power engineering, water management, financing, banking and infrastructure sectors took part in the forum.

“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,” he said.

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