Economy, Business And Markets

Rising Speculation on Iran-US Coop.

Rising Speculation on  Iran-US Coop. Rising Speculation on  Iran-US Coop.

The barriers and objections to Iran-US economic relations will not be everlasting.

This declaration by President Hassan Rouhani in a meeting with the executives of American companies in New York on Friday has been interpreted by many experts as an omen of a new twist in economic relations between Tehran and Washington.

As the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the six world powers on July 14 transformed Tehran into a popular destination for international business delegations, the lifting of sanctions imposed by the United States by early 2016 is expected to redirect the attention of American companies toward Iranian trade opportunities.

Arriving in New York on Thursday to attend the 70th annual session of UN General Assembly, President Rouhani said American companies would not be hampered in establishing a presence in Iran as investment and technology transfer opportunities are there to be tapped in the competitive atmosphere of the post-sanctions era by all international firms.

Those remarks were immediately welcomed back home notably by the head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Masoud Khansari.

“The private sector business owners are ready to cooperate with the US companies and investors,” he said, stressing that it will depend on authorities allowing bilateral economic cooperation.

With President Rouhani indicating his approval, experts have already started to speculate on possible fields of bilateral cooperation.

Experts believe oil and gas sectors would be an area of interest for American businesses. Since US companies are major players in the international oil and gas sectors, they would not want to lag behind competitors that recently initiated talks to do business with Iran.

According to many experts, US companies’ technological capabilities and their lower end costs compared to many other countries could make Washington a tempting option for Iranian decision-makers.

The president noted that “new conditions have been created for the technology, aviation industry and agriculture sectors of Iran.”

The US plane manufacturer Boeing has long eyed selling planes to Iran. The company’s Vice Chairman Ray Conner earlier said Boeing is still waiting to get the go-ahead from the US government to engage in these kinds of discussions.

With sanctions relief on the horizon, Iran is planning to renovate its air fleet made decrepit by years of restrictions on the purchase of new aircraft as well as access to spare parts and maintenance services for the older Boeing planes in Iran’s fleet.

“We have a long history with Iran. We had a big presence there for a number of years,” said Conner during a visit to the Boeing’s offices in Renton, Washington.

Iranian officials have already expressed interest in the US planemaker, though Boeing has always been talked of on par with Iran’s other options such as Airbus.

Head of the Association of Iranian and Foreign Investments, Seyyed Hossein Salimi, says cooperation with American businesses would have a positive effect on Iran’s economy by increasing competition with other international companies.

Salimi noted that Washington has a long history in making effective investments in other countries.

Joint economic relations with the US would prove to be potentially viable as “the 4% growth in the US shows the country is still a well-performing economy,” he told the Persian daily Forsat-e Emrooz.

According to the US Census Bureau, a body of Department of Treasury, more than $140 million worth of goods were imported by Iran from the United States in the first half of 2015, showing a 60% increase compared to the similar period of last year.

Iran’s exports to the US, however, remained zero during the six-month period, just like 2014’s corresponding figure.