Economy, Business And Markets

Slovenia Setting Stage for Broader Economic Ties

Slovenia Setting Stage for Broader Economic Ties Slovenia Setting Stage for Broader Economic Ties

To improve political and economic relations, Slovenia will reopen its embassy in Tehran by the end of January, declared the European country’s visiting Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Pocivalsek on Monday.

A group of Slovenian business figures representing 45 firms accompanied the minister in his Iran visit from January 10 to 11. They met with Iranian ministers and senior official as well as representatives of the private sector during their two-day visit.

In a meeting with Ali Tayyebnia, Pocivalsek said the Slovenian economy is largely based on industries, adding that the two countries can boost cooperation in the fields of food, farming machinery and livestock supplement production, IRNA reported.

“Exports constitute 75% of Slovenia’s GDP. Therefore, it is important for Slovenia to reach out to new markets. Slovenian companies are keen to invest in Iran’s production sectors, particularly home appliances and agriculture,” he said.

“Gorenje, the largest Slovenian manufacturer of white goods and the eighth largest manufacturer of home appliances in Europe, is eager to cooperate with Iranians. Once the nuclear deal was sealed between Iran and world powers, the company began exploring Iran’s market.”

Tayyebnia said the sanctions regime against Iran brought about a one-third reduction in bilateral economic exchanges, hoping that the implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, would pave the way for improvement of bilateral ties.

“Iran’s 80-million population and its access to the region’s 400-million market are the economic advantages of investment in the country,” he added.

The two ministers wrapped up their meeting by signing a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation.

“Slovenia has two million customers throughout Europe and two-thirds of the country are covered with jungle. This is a great opportunity for cooperation between the two countries in the farming sector,” said the European minister in a separate meeting with Iran’s Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati.

More than half of Slovenia’s two-million-hectare area is covered by forests and nearly 40% are used for agriculture. Of the agricultural area, more than 60% are permanent pasture and some 30% are arable, half of which is planted with cereals, mainly maize and wheat.

Pocivalsek signaled the willingness of his country’s private sector to initiate joint ventures with Iran in greenhouse farming, transfer of knowhow related to growing orchids and joint investment in Iran’s mechanized agriculture. Hojjati said given the scarcity of water and soil resources, there is no way but to resort to mechanized agriculture.

“Cooperation with Slovenia would help resume trade with Europe, given the ideal location of the country at the crossroads of main European trade routes and its access to [Adriatic] Sea. Iran is ready to have economic exchanges with Slovenia in different sectors of agriculture such as mechanized agriculture, genetic engineering of cows and seeds, organic farming and herbal medicines.

“Iran’s sixth five-year development plan (2016-21) has envisioned the development of greenhouse farming for production of vegetables to meet domestic needs as well as those of Russia,” he said.

Pocivalsek also invited Hojjati to visit Slovenia to visit its agriculture and processing industries.

In separate meetings, the Slovenian minister also met with Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian and deputy minister of roads and urban development for international affairs, Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan.

Referring to the decline in Tehran-Ljubljana trade from $60 million in 2012 to $18 million in 2015, the deputy minister called for improvement of bilateral economic ties.

The Slovenian minister and his accompanying delegation also met with the representatives of Iran’s private sector at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.

The ICCIMA head, Mohsen Jalalpour, assured the European minister that the chamber will make every effort to pave the way for cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries in the runup to the reopening of the Slovenian Embassy in Tehran.

Slovenia closed its embassy in Tehran in 2012, citing “economic considerations” for the decision.