Nathalie Lafontaine, deputy director of the Cabinet of Minister Jean-Claude Marcourt of Walloon government (2nd L), and TPOI president and deputy minister of industries, Mojtaba Khosrotaj (2nd R), signed the MoU in Teghran.
Nathalie Lafontaine, deputy director of the Cabinet of Minister Jean-Claude Marcourt of Walloon government (2nd L), and TPOI president and deputy minister of industries, Mojtaba Khosrotaj (2nd R), signed the MoU in Teghran.

Belgian Delegation Signs MoU to Bolster Economic Ties

The 200-strong visiting delegation from Belgium includes representatives of 140 companies
BFTA is planning to open a trade office in Iran, to expand long-term industrial and commercial cooperation

Belgian Delegation Signs MoU to Bolster Economic Ties

Trade Promotion Organization of Iran has signed a memorandum of understanding with Belgian Foreign Trade Agency, a body comprised of representatives of three Belgian regions of Walloon, Flanders and Brussels on Sunday to boost economic ties.
Signed in a joint economic forum in Tehran, the MoU seeks to promote cooperation in science, technology, infrastructure and investment. It was signed by TPOI president and deputy minister of industries, Mojtaba Khostrotaj, and Nathalie Lafontaine, deputy director of the Cabinet of Minister Jean-Claude Marcourt of Walloon Government.
“Without a doubt, this MoU will pave the way for Iranian companies to make inroads into the European continent after a decade of sanctions,” Khosrotaj was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“Trade between Iran and Belgium currently stands at $300-400 million per year. We ought to aim to increase this figure to the pre-sanctions level of more than $1 billion by expanding trade cooperation between the businesses of our two countries."
Sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program were lifted in January after the country signed a deal with members of the UN Security Council plus Germany to limit its uranium enrichment activities, though Tehran has always maintained that it never sought to develop a nuclear weapon.

> Bilateral Trade on the Rise

According to statistics released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Iran exported $55.8 million worth of non-oil goods to Belgium in the last Iranian year (March 2015-16), registering a 13% rise compared with the year before. Imports stood at $289 million, indicating a 2% rise.
IRICA’s latest data show Iran exported 54,700 tons of goods, including steel products, petrochemicals, carpet, raisins and pistachios, worth $44.7 million to Belgium during the first half of the current fiscal year, registering a 17% rise in value over the similar period of a year before.
Imports during the same six-month period amounted to 27,800 tons worth $158.2 million, recording a 4% year-on-year decline in value. Machinery, excavators and pharmaceuticals were among the main imported commodities from Belgium to Iran.
BFTA board member, Lafontaine, is accompanied by a 200-strong delegation from 140 Belgian companies.
BFTA is a public institution, which is an incorporated body, founded under the Cooperation Agreement of 24 May 2002, agreed between the Belgian Federal Authority and the Regions. The board of directors consists of 16 members appointed by regional governments and the federal government, providing an equal representation of public and private sectors.
Each region appoints a government commissioner to fulfill the agency’s tasks, which include promoting exports by organizing trade missions and organizing and disseminating information, studies and documentation about external markets to regional services responsible for foreign trade.
BFTA organizes joint trade missions in collaboration with Wallonia Foreign Trade and Investment Agency, Brussels Invest and Export and Flanders Investment and Trade.
Pascale Delcomminette, CEO of AWEX; Benedicte Wilders, director of Brussels Invest and Export; and Geert Bourgeois, president of the Flemish government have also joined the visiting Belgian delegation.

> Shahid Rajaei-Antwerp Ports Cooperation

Addressing the Sunday forum in Tehran, Bourgeois said BFTA is planning to open a trade office in Iran, “to expand long-term industrial and commercial cooperation”.
He referred to a recent agreement for cooperation between Shahid Rajaei Port in southern Iran and the Port of Antwerp in the north of the European country, as a good example of successful cooperation between the companies of Iran and Belgium.
The MoU, signed in July in Tehran, offers a framework for cooperation between the two ports within the next five years, including sharing knowhow and identifying cargo flows to streamline trade ties.
It was signed by Eddy Bruyninckx, the CEO of Antwerp Port Authority, and Ebrahim Idani, the head of Iran Port and Maritime Organization's Hormozgan Department, in the presence of PMO chief, Mohammad Saeednejad.
The visiting Belgian delegation accompanying Bruyninckx comprised representatives of 12 companies active in the fields of transit and logistics and was joined by Belgian Ambassador to Iran Francois Delhaye.
Up until 2010 when western sanctions were imposed against Iran over its nuclear program, Antwerp was the most important European port for Iranian cargos.
After a gap of years, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines returned to Antwerp with the first container ship since sanctions were lifted back in late 2015.
Shahid Rajaie Port, established in 1988, handles the bulk of Iran’s imports and exports, and is one of Iran’s most important ports.


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