Economy, Business And Markets

Finns Discuss Banking, Insurance Cooperation

Finns Discuss Banking, Insurance Cooperation Finns Discuss Banking, Insurance Cooperation

The minister of industries, mines and trade said Tuesday that Iran is ready to forge close relations with Finland including enhancing banking ties with the Scandinavian nation.

"Developing banking ties is the first step for commercial relations," Mehr News Agency quoted Muhammad Reza Nematzadeh at the Iran-Finland Trade Development Conference in Tehran.

He added that Iran and its neighbors together form a 400-million-strong market. "Iran can perform as a commercial base for Finnish companies."

Nematzadeh called on Finnish banks to build ties with Iran just like other European lenders who have reached agreements to expand their presence in Iran soon after the sanctions end.

"Trade between the two countries was conducted through unconventional methods in recent years and that should change," he said without elaboration.  

Insurance coverage is also of high importance in enhancing trade relations and Tehran is prepared to develop insurance cooperation with Helsinki, the news agency quoted him as saying.

"The Export Guarantee Fund of Iran, affiliated to the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade, oversees export insurance contracts and is ready to cooperate with Finnish insurance companies," Nematzadeh said.

Iran is seeking long-term and strategic cooperation with Finland in a post sanctions, he added, "Though commercial relations are helpful, it cannot alone serve as the basis for cooperation."

Industries constitute a third of Iran's economy according to the minister, which makes them a suitable venue for foreign collaboration and cooperation.

Nematzadeh noted that Iran-Finland trade imbalance should be narrowed by Iran increasing its exports to Finland.  

Key Role

Lenita Toivakka, Finland's minister for European affairs and foreign trade said her country would do its best for improving relations and increasing the volume of investments as it is beneficial for both sides.

 She added that Finland wants a more active economic role in the strategic Middle East region.

"We consider Iran as a major commercial and political partner," she said, "Iran has had a key role in our trade relations with other countries."

Toivakka hoped that the lifting of sanctions in early 2016 would pave the way for reestablishment of Iran-Europe relations.

The Finnish delegation includes chief executives of three Finnish banks as well representatives of 100 companies. They have arrived to discuss areas and opportunities in banking, cell phones, clean energy, construction and infrastructure.