Dutch Seek Increase in Economic Interaction
The Netherlands has taken practical steps to expand economic ties with Iran as is evident in the regular visits to Tehran by high-ranking Dutch officials. A joint economic commission has been formed and cooperation in the fields of energy and water are underway, the Dutch Ambassador to Iran Susanna Terstal told ISNA in an interview.
One of the accords between the two sides is the memorandum of understanding signed during the visit of Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp to Tehran in early May. The MoU calls for expanding cooperation in key sectors, namely agriculture, water, energy, ports and airports development, ease of doing business and the fight against money laundering.
“I have proposed that Iranian businesses be able to apply for the Orange Carpet Visa Facility, which I believe will suit both sides given the significant increase in travel requests by companies in the two countries,” the envoy said.
Foreign-based companies with a subsidiary in the Netherlands, which have employees who need to travel frequently to that country for business, can apply for the OCVF, which facilitates visa acquisition procedures.
According to Terstal, this year there has been an 80% increase in the number of visas issued for Dutch citizens travelling to Iran.
“Several Dutch companies are active in Iran and cooperate in a wide range of projects including the development of Imam Khomeini airport and designing a flight simulator program,” she said.
Terstal referred to energy, water, agriculture, health and water in particular as the main fields of mutual cooperation. Scientific cooperation in restoring Lake Urmia in West Azarbaijan Province is also part of the bilateral interaction.
The diplomat said the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen accompanied by a delegation will visit Iran in October.
At present, says Terstal, her embassy, where a European Union representative in Tehran is temporarily located, is the link between the EU and Iran, without identifying the EU envoy.
The Netherlands is Iran’s third trade partner in the EU, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in June.
Iran exported 3,300 tons of non-oil goods worth more than $7.2 million during the first three months of the current Iranian year that ended in March, which indicates a 28% decline compared to the similar period a year before, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration reported.
Steel products, molybdenum, vegetable seeds, saffron, raisins and dates were among the main exports to the European country.
Iran imported more than 534,600 tons of goods valued at $208.8 million, which indicates a 49% rise compared to last year’s corresponding period. The main imports included corn fodder, soybeans, soybean meals, barely, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and machinery.