Economy, Business And Markets

CBI Seeks Coop. With Austria, Germany

CBI Seeks Coop. With Austria, GermanyCBI Seeks Coop. With Austria, Germany

The Central Bank of Iran has proposed a joint working group with Austria within which the central banks of the two countries can review two-way financial and banking relations, news posted on the CBI website said Thursday.

“Robust and effective banking relations are key to developing sound trade relations.” CBI deputy governor, Akbar Komeijani said in a meeting with the Austrian Central Bank governor and the visiting delegation late Wednesday.

On efforts underway to uphold international standards in the banking system, he welcomed the opportunity to utilize Austrian experience and expertise to train CBI staff and improve the implementation of international norms in Iranian banking procedures.

Iran’s banking laws and procedures have long come under criticism by both government officials and the private sector and prominent economists and academia have urged the government to reform the key banking industry to improve its efficiency, reduce red tape and restore transparency especially when it comes to lending and offering interest rates.

The calls have gained extra momentum in light of the July nuclear deal signed between Iran and the six world powers that should open the way for the return of foreign banks after the lifting of economic and banking sanctions imposed on Tehran due to its nuclear energy program.

Claus J. Raidl, president of the Central Bank of Austria said banks in the European state are willing to provide training to their Iranian counterparts on anti-money laundering and expanding the number of clients.

Raidl sought information on the financial and trade status of Iranian banks in order to pave the way for the restoring relations with Austrian banks.

 Cooperation With Germany

In a separate meeting with a visiting German delegation headed by Nils Schmid, Finance and Economy Minister of Baden-Wurttemberg State, Gholamali Kamyab, the deputy CBI chief for foreign exchange affairs said, “Iran has never defaulted on its long or medium-term foreign loans.” He attributed the existing problems to “the lack of a payment channel” which he hoped “would be resolved after the nuclear accord comes into effect and sanctions are eased.”

The German official said he would work for the necessary measures to open the financial channels between the two countries soon after the international sanctions are lifted.

Meetings with the Austrian and German delegation took place amid the traffic of high-profile foreign delegations to Tehran that was triggered by the landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the sic world powers (five permanent member of the UN Security Council plus Germany).

 Germany was the first to test the waters when Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel visited Tehran on the heels of the long-awaited nuclear agreement at the head of a business delegation including top officials from some of Germany’s largest companies, including Daimler, Siemens and ThyssenKrupp. The visit last week by the finance and economy minister of Baden-Wurttemberg State was the second high-level mission by German officials in as many days.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer visited last week accompanied by Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mittelehner, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and a 240-member delegation of business executives from Austrian companies including Andritz, OMV, Lenzing, Raiffeisen and Erste Bank.