Domestic Economy

Joint Production Italy’s Core Efforts for Expanding Ties

Joint Production Italy’s Core Efforts for Expanding Ties
Joint Production Italy’s Core Efforts for Expanding Ties

Iran and Italy have signed four memoranda of understanding to expand cooperation on railroads, oil and gas, after-sales services and holding exhibition.

The agreements were inked on the sidelines of a joint business conference held in Tehran on Tuesday.

Italian Minister of Infrastructures and Transport Graziano Delrio and Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies Minister Maurizio Martina along with Iran’s ministers of roads and urban development, Abbas Akhoundi, and agriculture, Mahmoud Hojjati, as well as Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia were the keynote speakers at the conference.

The Italian delegates at the conference were part of a 310-member business mission that arrived in Tehran on Monday to follow up on President Hassan Rouhani’s last month visit to Rome, during which some €17 billion ($18.4 billion) worth of bilateral deals were signed in a wide range of fields.

“Joint production is at the core of Italy’s efforts to expand economic ties with Iran. This will guarantee economic growth for both countries. One-way exports have no place in our bilateral ties,” Delrio was quoted as saying by IRNA on the sidelines of the conference.

The Italian minister’s remarks invoke the Iranian government’s line, stated by officials on many occasions, alerting foreign countries against reducing Iran to a consumer market in the new economic climate following the lifting of western sanctions against the country in mid-January.

The MoU on railroad cooperation was signed between Iranian private companies and their Italian counterparts. It involves the supply of rail parts by Italy to Iran and the organization of human resources training programs.

Renovation of Iran’s rail fleet, according to Akhoundi, has been among Iran’s many proposals to the Italian side, which include electrification of Tehran-Tabriz Railroad and increasing its capacity.

During President Rouhani’s Italy visit, Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), Italy’s main rail operator, agreed to provide technical assistance for Iran’s rail projects. FS is a government-owned holding company that manages infrastructure and services on the Italian rail network.

Also in Rome, the Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri signed a series of preliminary agreements with Azim Gostaresh Hormoz Shipbuilding Industry Company, a new Iranian shipbuilding enterprise strategically situated in the Persian Gulf Special Economic Zone and worth several hundred millions of euros.

The Iranian company is a subsidiary of Iran Shipbuilding and Offshore Industries Complex Company owned by the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran—one of the biggest Iranian companies active in the country’s drive toward development and industrialization.

  Enormous Potential

“There is enormous potential for economic cooperation between Italy and Iran, which should be exploited,” Hojjati said in an address to the conference.

He referred to the production of organic products and medical herbs as one potential area of cooperation with the European country.

“There are more than 1,300 strains of medical herbs in Iran,” he said in a separate meeting with Martina, earlier on Tuesday, adding that his ministry has plans to promote production and export of scarce herbs such as saffron.

Hojjati also called on Italy to help Iran improve its agriculture sector by making investment and transferring modern technologies.

The incoming Italian mission, promoted by the ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Economic Development, Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, and Infrastructure and Transport, is organized by the Italian employers’ association, Confindustria, and the Italian trade agency ICE.