Domestic Economy

Iranian Trade Mission Wraps Up EU Visit in Latvia

Iranian Trade Mission Wraps Up EU Visit in LatviaIranian Trade Mission Wraps Up EU Visit in Latvia

On Thursday, Riga’s Radisson Blu Daugava Hotel was the scene of several one-on-one meetings between Iranian and Latvian business figures.

More than 60 Iranian business owners representing industrial, mining, energy, tourism, banking, health, food and agricultural sectors were on hand to introduce their respective fields to their Latvian counterparts, IRNA reported.

They also attended a trade forum that had Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Latvia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics and President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Mohsen Jalalpour as its keynote speakers.

“Latvia is famous for its fiscal discipline and economic growth in the EU,” said the ICCIMA chief, adding that the European country registered a 4.2% economic growth in 2012 and 2013.

“It has also managed to keep its unemployment rate low, reducing it from 16% in 2011 to a single digit, as we speak. Latvia has also gain great achievements in agriculture, production of chemicals, logistics, timber industry, textile, machinery and green technology,” he said.

Jalalpour noted that Iran is a rich source of petrochemicals, building materials, nuts and food.

“Up until now, we were mostly reliant on oil revenues, but now we are planning to reduce this dependency,” he said.

The ICCIMA chief called for further economic cooperation between the two countries and said Latvia can tap into Iran’s enormous potential in food industries.

“Latvia can also export its products to 15 markets in the neighborhood of Iran. The two countries should promote trade and tourism by establishing regular direct flights between Tehran and Riga. But the most important of all is to ease banking and insurance relations,” he said.

The visit to Latvia was the last leg of Iranian politico-economic mission to the EU led by the foreign minister.

AFP described the Iranian delegation’s Europe visit as an “EU trade drive” and one of Tehran’s first moves to drum up business with the West after the lifting of sanctions earlier this year.

  Earlier Destinations

The Iranian delegation first stopped in Poland where, according to Jalalpour, they met with representatives of as many as 180 Polish firms and bagged contracts worth $700 million.

“About $240 million of these contracts pertain to the power plant sector and $200 million to fisheries,” he said.

Finland was the second destination in Europe. On Tuesday, more than 300 Finnish and Iranian economic figures converged on Helsinki’s Marina Congress Center to hold talks about potential trade projects between their respective countries.

Bilateral banking relations took center-stage during this business forum.

According to Jalalpour, deals in the ballpark of $500 million were reached in Finland in the fields of industries, machinery and ICT.

Sheraton Stockholm Hotel on Wednesday saw meetings between Iranian envoys and representatives of 70 Swedish firms, wherein ways of strengthening mutual cooperation following the January lifting of western sanctions against Iran over its nuclear energy program were discussed.

Also, ICCIMA and Sweden Trade Council agreed upon five memoranda of understanding and a joint plan of action for further collaboration between the economic players of the two countries.

The Swedish council will open its Tehran office by August and send specialized economic delegations to Iran as part of these agreements.

Iran’s foreign minister and private sector representatives headed back to Iran late Thursday.

According to Jalalpour, they will undertake more such trade missions to other countries, including those in Africa and Latin America.